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The portions of Vayakhel-Pekudei not only contain the culmination of all the work that occurred in the book of Shemot,or Exodus, but also bring us to an important point - the accounting for the finishing of the building of the Mishkan, the Tabernacle. And there are quite a few very important lessons in it, but there’s one I want to focus on.
In the Midrash, they ask, how long did it take to build? Rabbi Shmuel, the son of Nachman, said the building of the Mishkan took three months - the months of Tishrei, Cheshvan, and Kislev. By the third month, the month of Kislev, the building was done. The pieces were prepared, the utensils to be used inside were prepared, the walls were prepared, and yet it wasn’t put together. So all the pieces of the Mishkan were done, but sat there, unattached, for the next three months, until the first day of the month of Nissan, the month of Aries, when it was finally built. Why were there three months between the time all the pieces of the Mishkan were prepared, and when the Creator told Moses to put it together?
Let’s go back for a moment. The Israelites were excited about the Tabernacle for two reasons: first, because Moses told them, “If you give all of your money, all of your gold, all of your silver, you’ll have a place where the Light of the Creator can rest in your lives constantly and forever.” And second, because it would be able to remove any darkness that they had awakened through the fall of the Golden Calf.
In fact, they are so excited that it literally says it took them only two days to gather all the gold, silver, and materials they needed, and only three months to build all the pieces. But then they began having expectations - “Moses, you told us that if we bring you all of our money, if we invest all of our energies in building this Tabernacle, the Creator will come down and we’ll see with our eyes, we’ll experience the resting of the Light of the Creator. We’ve done it.”
When at the end of the month of Kislev, Sagittarius, everything was done, and they came to Moses and asked, “What’s going on?” Moses didn’t have an answer really, because he didn’t know what was going on either; he didn’t know in advance when the Creator would decide the right time was to put the pieces together to build the Tabernacle.
The plan was, as it becomes clear from the kabbalists’ writing afterwards, that the Creator wanted to wait until the first day of Nissan. But this caused many people to start doubting Moses; maybe they wasted their time, their efforts, and their money. And therefore it says that some people started making trouble. But if the Creator knew how long the gathering of the materials and the building of the Mishkan would take, and wanted it to be erected on the first day of the month of Nissan, why create a scenario where everything is done in three months, and then there is a three-month gap until the Tabernacle is built? Why start building six months away, giving everybody time to doubt, question, and awaken all kinds of trouble for Moses and the Israelites?
We learn from this a very important understanding, something which we’ve probably all heard, but is at the foundation of almost every darkness that ever came into this world, and at the foundation of almost every fall that we ever have. The first fall, the first time that darkness was brought down to this world was the fall of Adam, wherein the Creator came to Adam and said, “You can eat from all of the trees in the Garden of Eden except for one - the Tree of Knowledge Good and Evil.” But the kabbalists say the Creator actually didn’t mean don’t ever eat from it, but that he should wait and eat from it on Shabbat; Adam just needed to wait one more day until Shabbat, and then he’d be able to eat from it.
The Zohar says, the Ari explains, Adam couldn’t wait, so he tasted from the Tree of Knowledge on the sixth day. Had he waited one more day until Shabbat, not only would he not have brought death and great darkness to this world— as he did— but he would have been able to manifest for this world total Light and total life forever. But he didn’t wait, and the seed for the first fall, the seed for the first level of darkness in this world, therefore, came from a lack of patience. And the kabbalists teach that every other fall, every other revelation of darkness in this world, will always come about because people aren’t willing to wait. It’s also what happened at the fall of the Golden Calf when the Israelites couldn’t wait for Moses to come down after what they thought was exactly 40 days. They weren’t willing to wait.
And so, what’s the lesson? Patience. Don’t expect the Light to come in the second that you expect it. Don’t expect your manifestation, your blessing to come in the minute that you expect it, or even a minute later. Wait. We have to understand that lack of patience is at the root of every big mistake that we ever make, and every big fall that has ever come down to this world. The fall of Adam happened not because he did the wrong thing, but because he didn’t wait to do it at the right time. The fall of the Golden Calf happened not because they did something so terrible, but because they didn’t have the patience to wait.
We’ll go a little bit deeper to understand exactly what it means in spiritual terms. Every time that we fall, it is because we expect something. We think: Well, I did this. The Light should come here. Why isn’t it happening now? But the Light, the true Light, will never come when we expect it. And sometimes, because we are impatient, we’ll draw down even less Light than we are meant to.
We asked, why is the Creator creating this mess? Because the purpose was to be a lesson for the Israelites, and a lesson for eternity. The Tabernacle was going to be the way for great Light to be brought down into this world… and great Light can only be brought down to this world by people who are willing to wait.