Vayak'hel: Chapter 27

He should not be put in a coffin


Rabbi Aba opens by telling us that Joseph was put into a coffin in Egypt. He deserved to be put in a coffin because he kept the holy covenant intact, and only the righteous are accorded that privilege. If a man impaired the covenant in the past and now also desecrates his coffin, he is sentenced and put into Gehenom, never to leave. Rabbi Aba says this is true only of those who did not repent enough to wipe out their misdeeds. If someone sinned and did not repent, he may not see the face of the Shechinah. Rabbi Aba explains that it was Betzalel who made the ark instead of those wise men who made the tabernacle because he was of a grade that symbolizes the holy covenant.