Parshas VaYakhel – Pekudei


“See, Hashem has proclaimed by name Betzalel” (35:30)

   The holy Zohar states that all of a person’s strength comes from his name. “See, Hashem has proclaimed by name Betzalel.” Betzalel is “B’tzel El”—“in the shade of G-d.” The name that his father gave him was already hinting that he would build the mishkan. His father had ruach hakodesh (the Divine spirit) and he knew that his son would build the mishkan, so he gave him this name so that he should in fact merit building it. He gave him the name Betzalel so that he should make shade for G-d, that he should made a mishkan for Hashem. This is what the Zohar says in parshas Pekudei, that it was because of his name that he was chosen to build the mishkan. In the merit of his name he was chosen over other people, and he built the mishkan. When he was only 13-14 years old he had already built the mishkan and knew things that even Moshe Rabbeinu, c’viyachol, didn’t know. Moshe wanted to make the aron first and only afterwards to build the mishkan, but Betzalel said, “First we make the mishkan and afterwards the aron.” Moshe told him, “You were in the shade of G-d”—there were things that Moshe c’viyachol didn’t know that Betzalel did.

   “Who has wrought devastation (“shemos”) in the land” (Tehilim 46:9)—don’t read it as “devastation,” but rather as “names.” Hashem established names in the land. Hashem decreed at the creation of the world, how many Reuvens there would be, how many Shimons, how many Nachmans, and how many Nossons. Through the name, an otherworldly power is awakened from above, and with this power a person can do wondrous things, because though giving a child the name of a tzaddik, the name causes that child to also be a tzaddik. By giving a child the name of a tzaddik, the light of that tzaddik is awakened for the person who was given his name. The light from the upper world is aroused and shines down and protects that child all of his life.

   The name of a person is not just something superficial. The holy Baal Shem Tov said that the name of a person is a hidden mystery. A person needs to understand the essence his name and to meditate upon it. A person need to know what is hinted at in his name—for his name is the root of his soul. Each person has a soul root according to his name. The name is a hint to the person about what he needs to work on and about what will happen to him during his lifetime. Everything is hinted at in his name. And it is proper that a person should know after which tzaddik he was named, because a person gets his life force through his name. One has to live up the name he was given. When a person enters the heavenly realms they ask him, “What is your name? You didn’t live in accordance with your name! You were supposed to have acted according to your name! If you had behaved accordingly, you would have achieved everything in the world.” 

   A person’s name hints to him about everything he needs to go though in this world, everything he needs to do and to study—everything is hinted at in his name. Hashem already announced all the names before each person was created, that Betzalel would make the mishkan, that Shlomo HaMelech would build the Temple —because Shlomo HaMelech has the gematria of 470, which is the gematria of “mekadesh havayah,” “to sanctify the name [of Hashem.]” And Shlomo actually came to build the Temple of Hashem . Also Shaul, who killed Agag the King of Amalek, has this hinted at in his name because Shaul has the gematria of 337 and Agag King of Amalek also has the gematria of 337. So the name of a person hints at all the things he will go through and all that he needs to do, and his mission in this world.

   The Noam Elimelech says that the number of names of tzaddikim available for use is very limited. Hashem has a treasury of tzaddikim, but they are very few. Who will merit receiving one of their names? If a person wants his son to be a tzaddik, he first of all needs to give him the name of a tzaddik—this is the first step. The greater the tzaddik, the greater the chance that the child will be a tzaddik. You are giving a name? Search for the greatest tzaddikim—maybe, just maybe this will protect the child. After you give a name you also have to educate him, to watch over him—not to go to sleep on Shabbos but to sing the Shabbas zemiros with him. This is what the Noam Elimelech says, that when you give a child the name of a tzaddik, then this tzaddik protects him, guards him from danger, keeps him away from bad friends. The soul of the tzaddik accompanies him everywhere. The moment that you give a child the name of a tzaddik, then a spark of that tzaddik becomes attached to him. You need to intend that the name of this tzaddik will attach itself to him and protect him, because the tzaddik already sanctified this name, already served Hashem with this name, and this causes the child to also be a tzaddik.

   To name a child after a tzaddik is a very big test. There are only a very few souls of tzaddikim. There is a palace of names and a hall of names, and when a person goes to name a child and he gets an idea to call him after a certain tzaddik, then immediately the obstacles start to rise up. All of a sudden this idea is snatched away from him, and suddenly he thinks to himself, “Perhaps I’ll choose a different name—what about this name, or that one.” He doesn’t realize that he is being pushed off by heavenly forces, and that is why a person needs to fight for the name, to battle for it. And through giving a child the name of a tzaddik, then the light of the tzaddik in the upper worlds will envelop the child all its life and will guard him from everything evil until he merits achieving the same level as that tzaddik.



   Master of the Universe, You can do everything. Nothing is beyond your ability. Let us merit that we will be among the students of Yeshayahu the prophet that prophesied, “Behold, I and the children whom Hashem has given me for signs and symbols” (Yeshiya 8:18). Please, Merciful and Compassionate One, let us merit having children who are on the level of Rabbeinu HaKadosh, the flowing stream and source of wisdom and joy and faith. They should be filled with faith and joy, with holiness and purity and they should enlighten all the worlds. Their light should radiate and strengthen from moment to moment and from second to second and should not cease even for a fraction of a second. But, on the contrary, their light should radiate and strengthen and rise up to all the worlds, the upper worlds and the lower, the World to Come and this world. And they should enlighten all the dark places until they merit, with the power of their wondrous light, to build the Beis HaMikdash, speedily and in our days, amen. 


B’Ohr Pnei HaMelech

   It is written that in Egypt the daas (intelligence) was redeemed. The daas was redeemed. But there are two aspects to the intelligence. There is one side, to know that I am connected to the Creator of the World. But this is only concerning myself. Then there is the second side which is knowing that I, together with all the creation, are connected to with the Creator of the World. I am not alone. I together with all of the creation, together we are one with the Creator of the World.

   What does it mean, “I am connected to the Creator of the World”? If it means that I have my own style and my own issues, I’m locked away inside my home connecting to my Creator, so don’t bother me! I am connected to the Creator of the World! This is indeed an extremely high level—so long as I’m not deluding myself. This is what they felt in Egypt, each person was concerned only with himself. And this is our situation today, and this is how Am Yisrael guards itself and its national identity.

   But the future redemption, which we need to be preparing for now, will be such a complete redemption that even the evil son will also be redeemed. At that time there will be no such thing as an evil son, there will be no one on a lower level than me. Right now, I can think bad about him, but then, I won’t be able to. When I pray and I don’t connect myself to all of Am Yisrael, and I don’t take upon myself the mitzvah of “loving your neighbor as yourself,” by not loving everyone, rather thinking that I am a bit more important than everyone else, etc.—I am not connecting to the mentality of the final redemption.

   The final redemption will be distinguished by the unity that will exist between all of the creation together with its Creator. The Creator of the World is in my heart. I will build for Him a sanctuary in my heart. But this same Creator of the World that is found in my heart is also to be found in the hearts of everyone else. He is found in the heart of every Jew. So, if a person cannot connect himself with the G-dliness that is found in his friend, in everyone—in every single person—if he is unable to connect with this, the result will be that he will be full of pride. He will think that he is more important than everyone else, etc. At that very moment he loses his fundamental connection with HaKadosh Baruch Hu, and he cannot achieve this level of the aspect of the final redemption, when even the evil son will be redeemed.



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