Our Talents – A Personal Command from God

In this week’s Torah reading, Moshe (Moses) says to the Jews (Shemot 35:30) in reference to the construction of the Mishkan (Tabernacle), “Behold you see that God has called upon Betzalel.” Betzalel was the chief craftsman of the construction of the Mishkan, about whom Moshe is saying that he was appointed by God for this task. Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (in Darash Moshe) asks, what was Moshe referring to in mentioning to the Jews that they see how God has called upon Betzalel? In what way were they to see God calling upon him? We do not find any special prophecy given to the public to witness God calling upon Betzalel.

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein answers this question with an astounding principle. When a person is gifted with certain talents or means with which he is able to do a mitzvah (good deed), that in itself is a personal commandment from God to act upon it. If God granted a person wealth, it is for a reason. God does not have to spell out the message in writing. The fact that someone has the means to contribute generously to charity, is itself the message from God that he is expected to do so.

If one is blessed with a brilliant mind and has the potential to excel in Torah study and teach others, that is his personal command from God to do so. That is why God gave him the brain capacity for that job.

You Are God’s Emissary

So too, the fact the it was apparent to everyone that Betzalel was gifted with the talents it took to craft the Mishkan and its various artifacts, was the testimony that God had called upon him to do so. The mere fact that he possessed the capabilities to carry out this special mitzvah (commandment), was itself a direct order from God for him to take that role.

Imagine, all of the most important people in the world that you can think of, invited you to a meeting. At the meeting, the wisest, most affluent and influential people around, beg of you to accept a special role. They present you with a most important mission which only you can accomplish, and they are counting on you to carry out. How would you feel? No doubt you would be extremely excited, and at the same time feel awed by the tremendous responsibility being placed upon you.

God, who is greater in every way than all of the most important people around, appointed you as His emissary to complete a mission which only you can do. Every Jew in this world has a mission to accomplish, and God is counting on us to carry it out. Every person has his talents, and was placed in his unique situation, in order to carry out his special role in life. We have to recognize what mission God has for us, and carry it out even if it conflicts with our own desires of what we want to do in life.

Sacrificing His Own Agenda

Rabbi Matisyahu Salomon accepted the position of mashgiach (spiritual supervisor) in the rabbinical college of Beth Medrash Govoha of Lakewood. His role was to guide the students in their service of God, to be there for them, and to educate them and inspire them to reach higher levels of spirituality and self-improvement. But before long, his role expanded, until it consumed almost his entire life. His door was open to everyone, and he was occupied with the public on a constant basis.

This came at great sacrifice to his personal agenda of Torah study. On more than one occasion, he sought to retire from his position. But he was told by great Torah personalities that this was his job in life. This was the area of service of God in which he was needed, and he had the means and talents with which to accomplish it. Rabbi Salomon threw himself into his role wholeheartedly, and sacrificed his own agendas for the sake of the Jewish Nation.

An Obligation to Believe in Oneself

Every one of us has a personal command from God to carry out our mission in life. Rabbi Tzadok Hakohen of Lublin writes (Tzidkat Hatzadik, 154) that just as one must believe in God, so must he believe in himself. A person has an obligation to recognize that God entrusted him with a unique role in life, and that God is interested and counting on him to carry it out. When one heeds his personal job in life, he brings God much joy and satisfaction from him. We must take advantage of the talents God gave us, and use them to accomplish our unique role of service of God in this world. We should always remember that God is counting on us to fulfill a mission, which no one else can do but us.

By Rabbi Yitzchok Aryeh Strimber torah4every1@gmail.com

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