By Five Towns Marriage Initiative
This week’s parashah, Vayakhel, discusses the various donations that the nation brought for the Mishkan. The pasuk (Sh’mos 35:27) says that the Nesi’im brought the Avnei Shoham and the Avnei Miluim, the precious stones, for the Eiphod and for the Choshen, the breastplate. Rashi quotes a Midrash that describes what happened to the Nesi’im. They said that the people would bring what they pleased, and then they, the Nesi’im, would fill in whatever was missing. The Midrash says that because at first they were lazy, a letter was omitted from their name, and the word “nesi’im” is written without a yud. The nation brought every last item that was needed, and there was nothing left to include. So in the end they found Avnei Shoham, precious stones, that they could donate for the Choshen, the breastplate of the Kohen Gadol. Parashas Naso discusses what the Nesi’im brought, and the Torah goes into great detail about each one of their donations. (Chofetz Chaim al haTorah)
When the Nesi’im saw how their action was viewed so negatively, to the point that the Torah left out a letter from their name, they could have been depressed over their mistake and felt hopeless. After all, in the end they entirely lost out on being able to donate to the Mishkan. Yet rather than reacting that way, they chose to go ahead and seek out what else there might be that they could donate. The Torah clearly demonstrates approval for their actions, and each one was given honor and his donation was described at length.
We see from the Nesi’im how a person should never give up hope, and that there can always be a chance to correct a mistake. Rather than feeling down when we do something wrong, we should stop and see what we can do to go above and beyond to correct our error. The other people that donated items to the Mishkan did not have such lengthy descriptions of their donations written out in the Torah, but the Nesi’im did. Clearly there is something powerful about righting a wrong, and the Torah chose to make a point of it for all to see and learn.
The next time we err in interacting with our spouses, let us remember the power of being able to fix our mistakes. Let us think of how low the Nesi’im were, that a letter was removed from their name, and still they managed to bring themselves up to the heights of Hashem’s approval. Surely we can bring ourselves back up as well, and make it up to our spouses and regain their approval once more. We should merit to only have closeness, togetherness, and harmony in our marriages. v
Five Towns Marriage Initiative provides educational programs, workshops, and referrals to top marriage therapists. FTMI will help offset counseling costs when necessary and also runs an anonymous shalom bayis hotline for the entire community Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings, 10:00–11:00 p.m. For the hotline or for more information, call 516-430-5280 or e‑mail firstname.lastname@example.org.