Go the extra mile

In Exodus 39:43, Moses blesses the children of Israel after completing the long and arduous process of building a tabernacle. This verse uses a couple of additional words, which challenged the commentators, always eager to decipher another baffling place in the Torah.

First of all, Or HaChaim notices, “The addition of the word אותה in the line עשו אותה, testifies to the quality of the work.” He explains that the artisans did not just do their work carelessly and then presented a mediocre result. Due to the importance and significance of the project, they went the extra mile to ensure that everything was in order.

Secondly, Or HaChaim writes, “If we follow the approach of the Talmud Zevachim 62 that every commandment contains details which are not mandatory but which are desirable, the Torah tells us that the artisans performed even all those details which were not mandatory. This explains why the Torah repeated the word עשו, they did, i.e. the artisans did both what was mandatory and what was in effect optional.”

There is always something mandatory and optional in our lives. We need to stop the war in Europe and care about the refugees. We need to help Ukraine and its people rebuild their country and return to a peaceful and prosperous existence. The optional is different for everyone, but there is always an extra distance to reach the other human being.

About the Author
Nelly Shulman is a journalist and writer currently based in Berlin. She is an author of four popular historical novels in the Russian language. She is working on the fifth novel in this series and on her first English-language novel, a historical thriller set during the Siege of Leningrad. She a Hawthornden Fellow and an alumna of the Nachum Goldmann Fellowship.
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