Saturday, 22 February 2014

The Great Artists of Vayakel

 Parashat Vayakhel recounts the building of the Mishkan and the mitzvah of Shabbat. There is very little information in Vayakhel which has not already appeared in the 3 previous parshiyiot. But let's have a look at a section about Bezalel.

What do we know about Bezalel? 
30. Moshe said to the children of Israel: "See, the Lord has called by name Bezalel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah.לוַיֹּאמֶר משֶׁה אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל רְאוּ קָרָא ה בְּשֵׁם בְּצַלְאֵל בֶּן אוּרִי בֶן חוּר לְמַטֵּה יְהוּדָה:
31. He has imbued him with the spirit of God, with wisdom, with insight, and with knowledge, and with [talent for] all manner of craftsmanshipלא. וַיְמַלֵּא אֹתוֹ רוּחַ אֱלֹהִים בְּחָכְמָה בִּתְבוּנָה וּבְדַעַת וּבְכָל מְלָאכָה:
The gemara further clarifies his lineage. He is the grandson of Chur the son of Miriam. Bezalel has yichus [important family lineage] and incredible, God given skills. 

Then we have Aholiav. 

34. And He put into his heart [the ability] to teach, both him and Aholiav, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan.לד. וּלְהוֹרֹת נָתַן בְּלִבּוֹ הוּא וְאָהֳלִיאָב בֶּן אֲחִיסָמָךְ לְמַטֵּה דָן:
35. He imbued them with wisdom of the heart, to do all sorts of work of a craftsman and a master worker and an embroiderer with blue, purple, and crimson wool, and linen and [of] weavers, those who do every [manner of] work, and master weavers.לה. מִלֵּא אֹתָם חָכְמַת לֵב לַעֲשׂוֹת כָּל מְלֶאכֶת חָרָשׁ | וְחשֵׁב וְרֹקֵם בַּתְּכֵלֶת וּבָאַרְגָּמָן בְּתוֹלַעַת הַשָּׁנִי וּבַשֵּׁשׁ וְאֹרֵג עֹשֵׂי כָּל מְלָאכָה וְחשְׁבֵי מַחֲשָׁבֹת

We do not know more about Aholiav's lineage. The tribe of Dan is known as the lowliest group. To build Hashem's house, the creme de la creme is chosen next to Joe Schmo. 


Because we all start out the same in Hashem's eyes! People might judge one another, from this family or the other, but it is not our place. People are great because of their God-given skills, how they harness them, and what they do with them. They are not just great because of their last name.

In keeping with the theme of great artists utilizing their great gifts, the girls and I looked at some art history. I found these posters online, made by an art teacher.

Using these posters, we compared the artists and their work. We talked about where each was from, the time they lived in, what time of art they made, and how their pictures make us feel. 

Gabi has been learning about da Vinci at school and was very excited to share all she knows. She was also interested in knowing more about Jackson Pollock. Cohava liked Georgia O'Keeffe's flowers and though Andy Warhol's art was silly. 

The we talked about how Hashem gives everyone talents and we need to use them. 

Hashem chose Betzalel and Aholiav to build His house because of how they would use their great talents. They were the greatest artists in history. Cohava is insistent that Hashem is the greatest artist because he made everything, but accepted the point of people's skills.

I asked the girls to make similar posters for Betzalel and Aholiav.
Here are the results of Betzalel.

I plan to make a "Great Artist" Wall in the play room, using the original posters, the Betzalel/Aholiav, and showcasing their work. 

Shabbat Shalom!

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