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Team of One

Friday, 25 February, 2011 - 3:30 pm

The loaded mini-van pulled in to the only remaining campsite. Four children leaped from the vehicle and began feverishly unloading gear and setting up the tent. The boys rushed to gather firewood, while the girls and their mother set up the camp stove and cooking utensils.

 A nearby camper marveled to the youngsters' father, "That, sir, is some display of teamwork."

The father replied, "I have a system. No one goes to the bathroom until the camp is set up.”

***

In G-d’s instruction to the Jewish people to build the Mishkan, the traveling Sanctuary, He establishes a team of artisans led by Bezalel and Oholiav. This team crafted the edifice and vessels of the Mishkan as related in this week’s Parsha of Vayakhel.

We find that this team labored together to produce the holy items. However, in the beginning of Chapter 37 of Shemot/Exodus the Torah tells that “Bezalel made the ark,” implying that he alone was responsible for construction of the most sacred artifact in the Tabernacle.

Why was the teamwork so beautifully employed suddenly abandoned for the manufacture of the most important article – the home for G-d’s Torah?

***

The point the Torah may be emphasizing is that we need both the value of teamwork and the value of individualism. The famous saying is that teamwork means never having to take all the blame yourself.

For some things in life it’s important that we realize we cannot go it alone.  We need others to assist, participate and harmonize our activities. But this can lead to a dependency mentality that deprives us of stepping up and contributing our very best.

***

We are taught that the Torah is the equal inheritance of every Jew. Some may excel in one mitzvah or another, but when it comes to Torah study we all have our own niche; our personal space within Torah.

Bezalel shared in the creation of the entire Mishkan. But when it came to the ark, which housed the Torah, Bezalel took upon himself the entire task.

We too must – at times – abandon teamwork and find our own place in Torah. Somewhere in the vast wisdom of Torah is your soul’s personal message – and your unique perspective. No go claim it.

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