Parshas Vayakhel: Chidushei HaRim – The Nesi’im Lose Their Letter “Yud”
When it was announced that Bnei Yisroel should bring donations to the Mishkan, the Nesi’im of the Shevatim decided to wait and see what all the people bring and they would give the remainder needed for the Mishkan. When the Bnei Yisroel generously brought everything needed the pasuk says (Vayakhel 35:27), “V’Hanesi’im Heivi’u Eis Avnei Shoham…” the Nesi’im were only able to contribute the Avnei Shoham and Avnei Milu’im.
The word “Nesi’im” is missing the letter Yud to signify the lapse on their part. Why the letter Yud? The Chidushei HaRim answers that the letter Yud is the letter that signifies the masses of the Jewish people, the Yehudim, the Yidden. The Nesi’im stood aloof from them, and even though at the end they brought the greatest treasure of them all, they still missed out on being part of Am Yisroel with their donation.
The Chidushei HaRim says that a leader must know, “B’Soch Ami Ani Yosheves”. Even the greatest of Jews must be among the people to be a part of the chosen people.