Parashas Vayakhel, Part 2

In regard to the collection of materials for the Mishkan, the Torah states (Shemos 36:7): “And the work [of collection] was enough (dayam) for all the work to be done, and more.” This verse poses two difficulties. First, what does it mean to say that the amount of materials collected was enough and more? Either it was enough or it was more than enough. Second, the suffix mem in the word dayam is seemingly unnecessary. Literally, dayam means “enough for them.” I would have been sufficient to write simply dai – “enough.”
The Maggid, in his commentary on Shir HaShirim 7:2, resolves these difficulties nicely. He first addresses a basic question: When Hashem decided to bring His presence down to dwell among the people, why did He make them engage in the physical labor of building the Mishkan? He could have brought the celestial Temple down to earth, or created the Mishkan with a mere word. Why, then, did He impose upon the people the burden of building the Mishkan themselves?
The Maggid answers as follows. As we know, the Jews of the wilderness generation did not have so many merits. They had not yet reached the lofty spiritual level that would entitle them to stand in the palace of the King. Hence they could not be immediately granted the privilege of having the Divine Presence in their midst: Hashem wanted to give the people the chance to gain merit, so they could become worthy of this privilege. He therefore commanded them to busy themselves with the construction of the Mishkan – to build it with their own hands using materials that they themselves donated, each man according to his talents and resources. This undertaking, with all the effort it entailed, purified the people and brought them to the spiritual level necessary to stand before the Divine Presence. Thus it is written (Shemos 25:8): “And they shall make Me a Sanctuary, and I shall dwell among them.” Initially, the Jewish People were not worthy of having the Divine Presence in their midst, but through the effort they would put forward in building the Tabernacle, they would become worthy – and then the Divine Presence would come down to dwell among them.
The Maggid then presents the following brilliant analogy. Consider someone chopping wood into small pieces for firewood with which to cook some porridge. If he has no other purpose in chopping the wood, then he will chop exactly the amount he needs to cook the porridge, and no more. But now suppose that his doctors have told him to chop wood for exercise, and in the process he is producing firewood that he can use to cook his food. In this case, it will not do for him to chop just enough for what he plans to cook. He also needs a proper exercise session. The amount of chopping that he does must be enough to satisfy both aims.     
The same idea applies to the construction of the Mishkan. Not only did the people need to assemble enough materials to construct the Mishkan and all its vessels. They also needed to donate to the degree required to refine their souls and make them worthy of having the Divine Presence in their midst. The point of the verse we quoted at the outset is to tell us that the people donated enough to satisfy both aims. The work of collection was enough for all the work to be done, and more; that is, more than enough for the Mishkan and all its vessels. In addition, it was dayam – enough for them, the people; that is, it was sufficient to prepare their souls for the Divine Presence.
David Zucker, Site Administrator

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