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Devar Tora For Vayahkel-Pekudei

03/13/2021 12:03:15 PM


Anne Lowe

In today’s double parasha, Vayahkel-P’kudei, we continue to learn of the construction of the holy ark in the midbar, or wilderness. The Israelites are instructed to bring forth as donations, precious metals, jewels, fine yarns, beautiful woods, animal skins, etc. They did so in great abundance. In fact, they brought more than what was needed, so great was their fervor to give of their own material wealth.

In many verses in Vayakhel, we are introduced to Bezalel and what caught my attention is the appointment of Bezalel and his assistants to oversee all the artwork, crafts, and furnishings that would be needed to perfect the making of the Mishkan. In today’s age most artists are experts in one or two mediums at the most, but Bezalel most have been a pre-Renaissance man. He could work with gold, silver, wood, cloth, copper, and precious stones.

It is no wonder that there is a famous school in Jerusalem, The Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, that is named for this all-around artist of Biblical times. Their website states:

Established in 1906 by artist Boris Schatz as the “Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts”, Bezalel has evolved into one of the world's most prestigious art schools. The name Bezalel is synonymous with more than 100 years of Israeli art, innovation, and academic excellence. Bezalel’s unique strength stems from the numerous breakthroughs it has been responsible for and its ability to respond and adapt to cultural changes. It takes pride in its numerous generations of graduates – the spearhead of Israeli artists, designers, and architects, in Israel and around the globe.

Also, in Chapter 35: verses 30 and 31, we learn that Bezalel was “endowed with a divine spirit of skill, ability, and knowledge of every kind of craft.” I am in awe of his artistic knowledge, but what really made me think, was that his ability was given to him or endowed to him by the Lord. I am often told by friends that I am so talented-artistically. It always makes me slightly uncomfortable. I usually demur by saying how fortunate I am to have been given my talent by G-d. This makes me believe that there are so many of us who have talents given to them by divine intervention.

I also surmise that I am the recipient of family talent that is carried through our genes. My mother’s sister Ruth was an artist who worked for Walt Disney in the 1930s. My older sister is an artist who started winning awards in art shows when she was just 16 years old. I have grandchildren who are very artistic as well. Perhaps, since we were all at Mt. Sinai together, some of Bezalel’s genes may have filtered down to my family? What a divine thought!

Aren’t we all talented in some way? Perhaps with a beautiful singing voice. Perhaps with the ability to tell spellbinding stories. Perhaps as great teachers, rabbis, doctors, musicians, caregivers. Maybe our talents lie in cooking, sewing, mothering, or fathering, or in being a steadfast friend or having a kind shoulder for someone to lean on.  We all have talents that make us a bit different from each other. Like snowflakes, no two of us are the same- when it comes to our abilities.

Sometimes I wonder why I was given the talent of creative visual art, yet I am a terrible dancer, and no one will stand next to me in an exercise class because I throw everyone off by mixing up my right and my left appendages. Yet, I am indeed thankful for my artistic talents, and truly, I thank G-d for them.

So the next time you say to someone, “I can’t even draw a straight line,“  just thank G-d you are a good dancer, a great teacher, or a super kind person. You have a divine gift, like Bezalel. Use it well!

Fri, September 17 2021 11 Tishrei 5782