Parshat Pekudei discusses in detail the construction of the Mishkan and the Priestly Garments. Whilst everything else was able to be completed without Moshe’s physical assistance, the Mishkan itself was bought to Moshe to build (Shemot 39:33).
If the Children of Israel were able to do everything that Hashem has commanded Moshe until now, why did they bring the Mishkan to Moshe?
Rashi suggests that it was because the Children of Israel were simply unable to build the Mishkan, as Hashem had left it for Moshe to do as he had done no work on the Mishkan until this point. No human being could build it due to the sheer weight of the beams. The Midrash Tanchumah mentions that when Moshe questioned Hashem about this he was informed that “You work with your hands and it will appear as if you are building it, but it will actually go up by itself”. Thus showing the divine providence in every step we take.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, in his Sichas Shabbos, 5730, provided a further explanation to this question. In Parshat Ki Tissa we are told that Moshe had his own ‘personal Mishkan’ outside of the camp. The Mishkan was primarily for Hashem to be able to dwell alongside the Bnei Yisrael. Therefore, whilst Moshe did not need to be actively involved in the construction of the Mishkan, Hashem told Moshe than he should be involved and provided him with the task of building the Mishkan.
This teaches us the important lesson that life is not only about our own spiritual journey but that we should also be involved in assisting those around us. Just as Hashem didn’t want Moshe to only be a spiritual leader but to also be involved in the construction of the Mishkan ‘with his hands’.
Written for the refuah of Yossef Chaim ben Feigle