The Jews in the Midbar had spent their lives as slaves and were certainly not trained as architects or artisans. Yet the כלים in the משכן—and the building itself—were intricate works of art, which Bnei Yisroel were able to create. The Ramban says that somehow the people found it within their nature to do what they were called upon to do. The parshah describes those who enlisted in the construction of the משכן as "אשר נשאו לבו, every man whose heart inspired him."
The Ramban interprets the expression אשר נשאו לבו literally, as “whose heart lifted him up.” What was it that “lifted” them? It was the inspiration and initiative it took to get the job done. The greatest key to success is not necessarily the training but rather the ambition and motivation. When Moshe asked for volunteers to build the משכן, the people rose to the occasion, determined to succeed.
The Mirrer Mashgiach, Rav Yeruchem, writes: “If we look at the great people in the world, or at those who have made financial fortunes—most, if not all, achieved their greatness thanks to their tremendous drive and initiative.” Comparing the Rishonim to our generation, Rav Yeruchem further writes that the difference is not in IQ. The difference is in their drive and ambition to know all of Torah.
This valuable lesson is relevant to children and parents right now, in time for report cards, which are currently being sent home. When children view their successes based on their innate intelligence, they can become complacent—or discouraged. But when we encourage and praise effort and ambition, determination and drive, we give our children the tools for success in their Torah learning and in all areas of life.
Rabbi Gidon Goldberg
Head of School