The possuk says in the week’s sedrah:
וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל רְאוּ קָרָא ה׳ בְּשֵׁם בְּצַלְאֵל בֶּן אוּרִי בֶן חוּר לְמַטֵּה יְהוּדָה
“Moshe said to the benei yisroel, ‘See that Hashem has called by name Betzalel ben Uri ben Chur from the tribe of Yehudah.’”
The Medrash Tanchuma explains that Hashem called Betzalel with a shem tov (a good name) and because of this he merited to build the mishkan:
... שהרי בצלאל על ידי שקנה שם טוב, זכה שיעשה מלאכת המשכן. ..מנין? ממה שקראו בעניין: ראו קרא ה' בשם בצלאל. ..
“Betzalel merited to build the mishkan because he acquired a good name as the passuk says ‘רְאוּ קָרָא ה׳ בְּשֵׁם בְּצַלְאֵל’.”
- Why did Betzalel only merit to build the mishkan through his good name?
- Why does the Medrash Tanchuma say that Hashem gave Betzalel a shem tov? The passuk only says ‘קָרָא ה׳ בְּשֵׁם בְּצַלְאֵל’ - ‘Hashem called Betzalel by name.’ It does not say that Hashem did anything other than identify Betzalel by his name, it does not say that He gave him a good name?
The order of making the mishkan
The passuk says at the beginning of Parshas Pikudei (38:22):
וּבְצַלְאֵל בֶּן אוּרִי בֶן חוּר לְמַטֵּה יְהוּדָה עָשָׂה אֵת כָּל אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה ה׳ אֶת מֹשֶׁה
“Betzalel ben Uri ben Chur from the tribe of Yehudah did everything that Hashem commanded Moshe.”
ובצלאל בן אורי וגו' עשה את כל אשר צוה ה' את משה: אשר צוה משה אין כתיב כאן, אלא כל אשר צוה ה' את משה, אפילו דברים שלא אמר לו רבו, הסכימה דעתו למה שנאמר למשה בסיני, כי משה צוה לבצלאל לעשות תחלה כלים ואחר כך משכן, אמר לו בצלאל מנהג עולם לעשות תחלה בית ואחר כך משים כלים בתוכו. אמר לו כך שמעתי מפי הקב"ה. אמר לו משה בצל אל היית, כי בוודאי כך צוה לי הקב"ה, וכן עשה המשכן תחלה ואחר כך עשה הכלים:
“Betzalel did things which Moshe never told him – he understood what had been said to Moshe at Sinai.
Moshe commanded Betzalel to first make the kelim and then to make the mishkan.
Betzalel said to him, ‘It is the way of the world to first make a house and then to place the furniture in it.’
Moshe replied; ‘This is what I heard from Hashem. You were in the shade of Hashem (betzel el) because this is what Hashem commanded me.’
This is what Betzalel did, first he made the mishkan and then he made the kelim.”
In Terumah, where Hashem gave Moshe specific instructions concerning all the parts of the mishkan, Hashem first commanded him to make the kelim and then the mishkan.
However in Ki Sisa, where Hashem commanded Moshe concerning the general making of the mishkan, Hashem said:
וְעָשׂוּ אֵת כָּל אֲשֶׁר צִוִּיתִךָ. אֵת אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד וְאֶת הָאָרֹן לָעֵדֻת
“They should make everything I have commanded you, the ohel moed and the aron for the luchos...”
Moshe told Betzalel to make the aron first and then the mishkan, in the order specified in Terumah. However Betzalel objected that the order should be as appears in Ki Sisa.
- Why did the Torah change the order?
- Why did Moshe tell Betzalel to make it in the order given in Terumah?
- Why was Betzalel correct to make it in the order given in Ki Sisa?
The Meshech Chochmoh (Vayakhel d”h reu kara Hashem beshem) explains as follows:
The mishkan served two purposes;
- It was the place where the shechinah rested between the two keruvim
- It was the meeting place for klal yisroel
Regarding the individual parts of the mishkan, the aron has the most kedushah and is therefore mentioned first in Terumah.
However the entire mishkan represents the whole of klal yisroel together. When klal yisroel join together they have a much greater kedushah than anything else, even the aron, as the possuk says:
בראשית ברא אלקים את השמים ואת הארץ
“In the beginning Hashem created the heaven and the earth.”
"בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא" – אין המקרא הזה אומר אלא דרשני, כמו שדרשוהו רבותינו ז"ל: בשביל התורה שנקראת (משלי ח כב) "רֵאשִׁית דַּרְכּוֹ", ובשביל ישראל שנקראו (ירמיהו ב ג) "רֵאשִׁית תבואתו"
“...Hashem created the entire world for klal yisroel who are called reishis.”
This is why regarding the general description of the construction of the mishkan in Ki Sisa, the mishkan is mentioned first. The overall intention of the mishkan is to be a place where klal yisroel will join together and therefore the mishkan, which, when complete, represents all of klal yisroel, has a much greater kedushah than the individual kelim, even the aron.
Betzalel knew how to be mechaber osiyos shenivreu bahem shamayim vaaretz – he knew how to join together the letters that the heaven and the earth were built with.
In Bereishis we find that during the briyah the passuk says (every day except for Monday):
וַיַּרְא אֱלֹקִים כִּי טוֹב
“Hashem saw that it was good.”
But on the last day the passuk says:
וַיַּרְא אֱלֹקִים אֶת כָּל אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה וְהִנֵּה טוֹב מְאֹד
“Hashem saw everything that He had made and behold it was vey good.”
Each part by itself was tov, but joined all together the parts made something which was greater than the sum of the parts which is tov meod.
Betzalel understood how to do this and was able to join the parts of the mishkan into a whole that represented more than the individual parts. Betzalel understood the overall intention of the mishkan. For him, the mishkan had more kedushah than the aron and therefore it was logical to make this first.
How did Betzalel know to be metzaref osiyos shenivreu bahem shamayim vaaretz?
The name (shem) of a person represents their inner neshama, if a person has a shem tov, this is becuase they have united their inner neshama togeher with their external massim tovim and their neshama shines and is discernable through their massim tovim. Becuase of Betzalel's shem tov, his pleasantness to both Hashem and to people, he was able to see the shechinah in every part of the briyah and was thereby able to unite the intention min hashamayim of every part of the creation together with people's understanding of the briyah – the aretz.
Moshe said ‘reu kara Hashem be’shem betzalel’ – ‘Hashem called Betzalel by his name.’ Betzalel’s neshama was entirely expressed and discernable through his maasim tovim, so that Hashem called him by his name. This is a shem tov, because his neshama was entirely expressd through his maasim tovim. Becuase Betzalel reached this madregah where he joined his neshama and his practical actions, he was able to join the parts of the mishkan to a whole that represented the kedushah of the whole of klal yisroel together and through this merited to build the mishkan.