Vayak'hel: Chapter 1

"And Moses gathered"


Rabbi Chiya says that the war that Amalek waged against Yisrael was on all sides, because an evil serpent strengthened up above and down below. He talks about defilement, impurity and nocturnal pollution, and tells how God supplied Bilaam with a place of defilement as he deserved. If it had not been for Moses above and Joshua below Yisrael would not have overcome the evil serpent, who had planned to steal the sign of the covenant. Rabbi Chiya says that wherever there are sinful people the righteous and pious among them are punished for their sins, but because the tabernacle was to be built only for the children of Yisrael, Moses gathered and separated them from the other nations. Rabbi Elazar says that when the people gave a great shout, the sound made the stone tablets fall and break because the letters flew from it, leaving the stones heavy and without spirit. We are told that this loud voice arouses the evil serpent who seizes light. Rabbi Elazar also refers to the four seasons of the year (Chesed, Gvurah, Tiferet and Malchut) and the voice that rises in the four winds of the worlds. Therefore "Joshua heard" means that the voice of evil had seized the light of the moon, that is Malchut that Joshua held on to. Moses, who held on to the sun that is Zeir Anpin, did not hear. And the light of all Yisrael darkened because of that evil, but because God had pardoned their sins, Moses was able to gather them all together.