Your Name has been Called
By: Rabbi Barak Bar-Chaim
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: “See, I have called by name Betzalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have imbued him with the spirit of God, with wisdom, with insight, with knowledge, and with [talent for] all manner of craftsmanship to do master weaving, to work with gold, with silver, and with copper, with the craft of stones for setting and with the craft of wood, to do every [manner of] work.” (Exodus 31, 1-5)
In the above verses, God instructs Moses to place Betzalel in charge of the construction of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) and its vessels. Our commentators are bothered by the unusual expression: “See, I have called by name Betzalel the son of Uri…” Why does God not simply tell Moses to appoint Betzlel? What is Moses to see? What does it mean that God called Betzalel by name?
Ramban explains that by way of this introduction, God preemptively answered a question that would be on the minds of Moses and the Jewish people. The construction of the Mishkan required many different artisan skills. Each skill is a profession in and of itself and requires tremendous expertise. An expert metal artisan, stone artisan, carpenter, and weaver (among other professionals) would be required for the construction. The Jewish people had been slaves in Egypt, performing back- breaking labor. It would be almost impossible to find an individual with expertise in any one of the required skills, let alone in all of the skills. Therefore, God communicated to Moses: I know you are looking at this and wondering how it is possible for one person to be an expert in all these areas. You must realize that from the beginning of the creation of the world, I had Betzalel in mind to perform the construction of the Mishkan and I will fill him with all the wisdom and skill necessary for the task.
Ramban then states: “And our Rabbis have a teaching (Shemot Rabah 40,2) that God showed Moses the book of Adam and said to him ‘I set apart (appointed) each person at that time (time of Adam) for their purpose and I also set Betzalel apart for his purpose at that time.’” Every person has a unique purpose and role that God set aside at the beginning of time. They have been “named” for that purpose. No two people have exactly the same skill set and role to play in the world. We live in a society where everyone constantly compares their roles and what they are doing with everyone else. Social media has further exacerbated this tendency. The result is often envy and dissatisfaction. We have to learn to focus more on what we are doing and on using our own skill sets (with all our strengths and weaknesses) to serve God and fulfill our roles in the world. Others have a completely different role in life and they, too, have to fulfill their mission. Embracing our personal roles and using the package of resources God has given us, results in us being happy with our lot. We are then able to celebrate the success and path of others without envy and jealousy.