Up for Debate

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This module contains one key debate amongst the various classical commentaries of Chumash. 


The Torah tells us that the Chief architect of the Bishkan was a man named Betzalel. However, when the actual construction is described, Betzalel is only given sole credit for the construction of one item- the Aron

וַיַּ֧עַשׂ בְּצַלְאֵ֛ל אֶת־הָאָרֹ֖ן עֲצֵ֣י שִׁטִּ֑ים אַמָּתַ֨יִם וָחֵ֜צִי אָרְכּ֗וֹ וְאַמָּ֤ה וָחֵ֙צִי֙ רָחְבּ֔וֹ וְאַמָּ֥ה וָחֵ֖צִי קֹמָתֽוֹ׃

Bezalel made the ark of acacia wood, two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high.


This raises two questions: Was Betzalel’s role in constructing the Aron different than the rest of the Mishkan and if so,  why?


The Meshech Chochma says that even though the Mishkan was a collaborative effort, Betzalel alone constructed the Aron.

The Meshech Chochma explains that every part of the Mishkan would need to eventually be rebuilt or replaced, except the Aron which was only constructed once. Such a critical job could only be entrusted to Betzalel himself

The Midrash says that really even the Aron was built collaboratively but Betzalel sacrificed and invested the most of all the builders so the verse ascribes the construction to him.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe explains that this wasn’t merely a reward. Rather, Betzalel’s investment of time and energy was so readily apparent to anyone who saw the finished product that they knew it must been his work. It is because of the impact Betzalel had on the final product that the verse gives him credit.