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Tehillim on the Parsha: Vayakhel: As An Individual

The verse in Isaiah (40:26) reads, “Raise your  eyes on high and see Who created these things! He brings forth the regions by number; He calls to each of them by name; by the abundance of His power and by vigor of His strength, not one is missing!” A similar but slightly different verse in Psalms (147:4) reads, “He fixes the number of stars; He calls all of them by names.” The Midrash (Shemot Rabbah 48:2)asks why does the verse in Isaiah describe God calling to each of the heavenly beings by a “name,” in the singular, but the verse in Psalms describes God calling to multiple beings by “names,” in the plural?

When God needs everything to function in a specific way, He will call to all by names, in the plural. However, when God wants to summon a specific angel such as Gabriel or Michael, He will call only by an individual name.

This teaches us that there are times when God speaks to broader pieces of creation and times when He speaks to only one being.

In this week’s portion God says, “See, God has called in the name of tBetzalel .” God called to Betzalel as an individual. This was to teach the Children of Israel that although they were working as a community to build the Mishkan, each one was being addressed by God by a name, in the singular, as a unique individual.

Even at times when we are functioning as part of the community, for example when we are praying in the synagogue as only one member of a larger community, God calls our attention to the fact that He calls to us by “name” in the singular.

We stand as individuals before God even when we stand as part of the community. We benefit from the community but we do not forfeit any of our individual and unique relationship with God.

Machberes Avodas Hashem: Use in Psalm 147 in Pesukei D’Zimrah: “I celebrate Your attention to me as an individual with a unique mission.”

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