Vayakhel – Counting Blessings

A chasid once came to his rebbe, Rav Tzvi Elimelech of Dinov, known as the Bnei Yisaschar, explaining about his troubles in making a livelihood. The Bnei Yisaschar asked him about his morning routine. “After I wake up at the crack of dawn I run to the marketplace and do all the purchasing for the day so that later on I can come back to the market and sell it all after everyone else has sold out of their wares, then I go daven…” The Bnei Yisaschar stopped him there, “See, that is where the problem lies. The first thing you do in the morning should be to thank God for being alive! First daven and then you can go to the market and buy your merchandise.” The chasid showed a face of disagreement, “But rebbe, if I delay buying merchandise till later on in the day I will for sure have no chance at making a livelihood…” 

“Let me tell you a story,” said the Bnei Yisaschar, “and perhaps it will allow you to understand how important it is to start your day on the right foot. ‘There was once a Jew who was a Melamed, a traveling teacher for young children. These teachers would often go away from home to a distant village to work as a Melamed for several years. This particular Melamed accepted payment in three ways; gold coins, silver coins and copper coins. The wealthy people would pay in gold, the people who were comfortable would pay in silver and those struggling with income would pay in copper. The Melamed, in order to keep things organized, divided his knapsack into three compartments, one for each type of coin. After ten years away from home he decided he made enough money and it was time to return home. On the way back he realized Shabbos was nearing and he urgently needed to find a place to sleep. He raced down the road until he found some random inn, bursting through the door with only moments to sundown he threw his bag to the non-Jewish innkeeper to hold onto over Shabbos. After he sat down and collected his thoughts he realized how dumb that may have been; how could he trust this innkeeper to not steal from him? The entire Shabbos he was sick with worry that ten years of work would be stolen from him in a day, and even then he would never have a way of recovering the money. Either the innkeeper would kill him or the police wouldn’t care since he is a Jew. Well, the moment Shabbos was over he retrieved his bag from the innkeeper and he immediately counted all the gold coins, all was good. Then he counted the silver, and then the copper, also all accounted for. The innkeeper watched from the side and was confused, “I understand why you would count the gold, to make sure I did not steal from you,” said the innkeeper, “but if you saw I had not stolen any of the gold why did you count the silver and the copper? If you already had the gold why should you be concerned about the silver and the copper?” and with that, the Chasid understood the Bnei Yisaschars point: that he had been given the greatest gift of all from Hashem in the morning, his soul returned to him to live another day – the gold. If God was gracious enough to provide him with the gold, what concern should he have that God would not provide the silver and copper as well. So the next morning the Chasid awoke early as usual, but instead of heading to market he davened shachris first, needless to say, on that day alone the chasid saw greater profit than he had seen in the past few months.

This is what is meant in the Parsha when the pasuk says, “God has endowed them to work in gold, silver and copper”(35:32) Every day we worry about new things, old things, big things, small things, we worry a lot. But if we took a moment and recognized the great blessings that God endows us with daily, especially that we awoke this morning and didn’t stay “asleep” the worries we may have could just become meaningless. Because if God loves you enough, cares about you enough to give you another day to live, certainly He loves you enough to fix all of your problems. So don’t worry about the silver and the copper, because Hashem already gifted you with the gold, and if we recognize this great love He has for us, and thank Him for this there will be no end to the gold, silver, and copper he will send our way.

Ki Sisa – Hashem Sits
Vayikra – Out of Control

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