Bezalel’s Calling

Here is a teaching for Parashat Vayakhel from Reb Zalman’s Sefer Yishmiru Daat: (Click here to read the text in its original Hebrew, which is translated below by Gabbai Seth Fishman.)

In Parashat Vayakhel, (cf., Exodus 35:30), Moshe tells the children of Israel that Hashem has called Bezalel by name.

When we think about this, we might feel disconnected from the experience of being the one who is called.  After all, which of us is a “Bezalel,” i.e., a master craftsman and leading artisan of our generation.  And how can we relate to the text’s stating that it is Hashem who called him to build the Mishkan?

We have an indication in the Aramaic translation of the text as to what constitutes Hashem calling somebody because the Hebrew word used, (קרא), is not translated with an Aramaic verb that means “to call” but rather, it’s translated by a verb  that means “to raise a person up,” (‘חזו דרבי ה) as when a person is promoted in his job.  So when Hashem calls a person the person is raised by it.

When we are young and in school, if we do what we’re asked we progress from grade to grade.  When we do something that causes us to be promoted at work, when we have shown what we can do and someone gives us something new, harder, of greater importance or impact — all of these are tied to the “calling”.

Along with the promotion or advancement comes healthy growth and a feeling of competence and accomplishment.

This is the way we find our callings:  You may notice that you enjoy doing certain things more than others enjoy the same things, or that you feel good about what you’re doing.  People may tell you you’re good at something even when you didn’t think it.  Or you may enjoy or appreciate something you created or accomplished after you did it.

These experiences give us energy and a sense that we can do more.

It is this feeling that Bezalel has when he is called.  He feels it is right.  He feels it is his.  He feels confident about what he is about to do.  His scope has increased and he feels from being called that he is worthy of the task at hand.

This is one way that we can figure out what our callings are.  If it is a calling, then instead of feeling, “Who am I?  How can I do it?” at some point we will feel, “I’m going to be successful” because, not only is the calling an indication of what you’re going to do; it also means that Hashem has called you.  As you are called, so are you given the means to do that which you are called to do.

Everybody has a calling.  And Hashem has called you too.  Identify your gifts, for you are deployed and you will be a blessing.

2 Responses to “Bezalel’s Calling”

  1. ilana storace Says:

    Thank you Rabbi!

  2. David Says:

    I never thought of that experience in that context. thank you. It makes me feel connected to the world.

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