Tuesday, March 13, 2007
zerizus vs. hiddur when performing a mitzvah
The Torah uses the words “chachmei leiv” to describe those who made the curtains for the Mishkan. How did these people demonstrate the great intelligence the Torah notes? The Netziv writes that when Moshe gave the instruction to make the Mishkan, each person had a choice of what project to work on. The achronim discuss whether it is better to do a mitzvah b’zerizus, at the earliest possible moment, or b’hidur, delay the mitzvah until later if doing so would enable it being performed in a more beautiful or perfect fashion. The vessels of the Mishkan were clearly of greater import and greater sanctity than the curtains and walls. Yet, as Rashi in Parshas Pekudei writes, the building tent itself had to first be erected before starting work on the kelim. The builders were faced with the dilemma: is it better to seize the opportunity b’zerizus to work on the curtains of the Mishkan, or is it better to wait for the hiddur of working on a kli which has more kedusha? The Netziv writes that in this case, the correct answer, which the “chachmei leiv” intuited, was to work on the first project available. The safeik of achronim applies only where a single mitzvah can be done either b’zerizus or b’hiddur; here, the choice is between different projects. Also, the task of building the kelim was not even on the table as an option until the tent of the Mishkan was built.