Divrei Simcha on Parshas Vayakhel/Pekudei
This week we have a double parsha, but as I look in my Mikraos Gedolos (book with the classic Torah commentators in it), I find that these parshios take up a small number of pages. There are numerous pages with very little commentary. Did all of the great Torah commentators go on vacation for these parshios?
The reason for little commentary is simple. These parshios are repetition of earlier parshios. This week we learn again all of the laws of the holy vessels of the Mishkan. The commentators write very little because their commentary was a few weeks ago. So the question is why do we need to repeat this?
I was once at a class for my job near Richmond, Virginia and was speaking with one of my classmates. I mentioned that I go to shul every morning and afternoon/evening to daven three times a day. This classmate was amazed and asked me, “Why do you need to pray three times a day? Isn’t once enough?” I thought about it and I think the answer might be that life is all about repetition. Whatever we constantly do is what we internalize. We daven three times a day so we internalize how great Hashem is. When we constantly do something, it becomes a part of us.
At work this past week, one of the guys asked loudly what the theme song of one of the sitcoms from the 1980s was. I immediately started singing one of the 80s theme songs but was immediately told I sang the wrong one. Someone then remembered the first line of the right one and I correctly sang the rest of the correct song. I learned a great lesson from this event. I have not watched television for the last 7 years and probably have not watched these shows in 15 years. I used to watch them every week when I was younger and now many years later, I still remember them. It is because I constantly heard these songs, so they stick with me. Whatever we constantly repeat sticks with us. Even if we have not listened to it in years, it remains with us.
And maybe this is why this week’s parshios are repetitions of earlier ones. It is to remind us that the important things in life need to be repeated so we remember them (television shows certainly should not be what I repeated!). Whatever messages we constantly learn are the ones that will stay with us forever. Therefore, we should constantly repeat our Torah learning so this is what we will always remember!
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By Rabbi Yaacov Seltzer