The Website for Book Lovers

Legands of the Jews > Volume 3 >

Prev | Next | Contents


Bezalel was, first of all, of a noble line. His father Hur was a son of Caleb from his union with Miriam, Moses' sister, that Hur who gave his life to restrain Israel from the worship of the Golden Calf. As a reward for his martyrdom, his son Bezalel was to build the Tabernacle, and one of his later descendants, King Solomon, was to build the Temple at Jerusalem. Bezalel was not only of a distinguished family, he was himself a man of distinction, possessed of wisdom, insight, and understanding. By means of these three God created the world; Bezalel erected the Tabernacle. Through their aid was the Temple complete, and even in the future world will it be wisdom, insight, and understanding, these three that God will employ to set up the new Temple. Bezalel, furthermore, had wisdom in the Torah, insight into the Halakah, and understanding in the Talmud, [325] but more than this, he was well versed in secret lore, knowing as he did the combination of letters by means of which God created heaven and earth. The name Bezalel, "in the shadow of God," was most appropriate for this man whose wisdom made clear to him what none could know save one who dwelt "in the shadow of God."

Moses had an instant opportunity of testing the wisdom of this builder appointed by God. God had bidden Moses first to erect the Tabernacle, then the Holy Ark, and lastly to prepare the furnishings of the Tabernacle; but Moses, to put Bezalel's wisdom to the test, ordered him to construct first the Holy Ark, then the furnishings of the Tabernacle, and only then the sanctuary. Hereupon wise Bezalel said to Moses: "O our teacher Moses, it is the way of man first to build his house, and only then to provide its furnishings. Thou biddest me first provide furnishings and then build a sanctuary. What shall I do with the furnishings when there is no sanctuary ready to receive them?" Moses, delighted with Bezalel's wisdom, replied: "Now truly, the command was given just as thou sayest. Wert thou, perchance, 'in the shadow of God,' that thou knewest it?"

Although God knew that Bezalel was the right man for the erection of the Tabernacle, still He asked Moses, "Dost thou consider Bezalel suited to this task?" Moses replied: "O Lord of the world! If Thou considerest him suitable, then surely do I!" But God said: "Go, nevertheless, and ask Israel if they approve My choice of Bezalel." Moses did as he was bidden, and the people assented in these words: "If Bezalel is judged good enough by God and by thee, assuredly he is approved by us." [326] As the builder of the Tabernacle, God gave Bezalel five other names to bear. He called him Reaiah, "to behold," for Bezalel was beheld by God, by Moses, and by Israel, as the one who had been decreed for his activity since the beginning of the world. He called him "the son of Shobal," because he had erected the Tabernacle that towered high, like a dove-cote. He called him Jahath, "the Trembler," because he made the sanctuary, the seat of the fear of God. He called him Ahamai, because, through his work, the sanctuary, Israel, and God were united; and finally Lahad, as the one who brought splendor and loftiness it Israel, for the sanctuary is the pride and splendor of Israel.

At the side of Bezalel, the noble Judean, worked Oholiab, of the insignificant tribe of Dan, to show that "before God, the great and the lowly are equal." And as the Tabernacle rose, thanks to the combined efforts of a Judean and a Danite, so too did the Temple of Jerusalem, which was built at the command of the Judean Solomon by the Danite Hiram. [327] As the head-workers of the Tabernacle were filled with the holy spirit of God in order to accomplish their task aright, so too were all who aided in its construction, yes, even the beasts that were employed on this occasion possessed wisdom, insight, and understanding. [328]

Prev | Next | Contents

The Heptameron: The Very Naughty Book By Margueritte de Navarre

Princess Belle Etoile
The Beautiful Illustrations of a Dark Fairy Tale

WW1 Poster
World War One Propaganda Posters

Charles Dickens Mistress
A Victorian Scandal: Charles Dickens and The Actress

Art of Albrecht Durer
The Art of Albrecht Durer