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    Thinking thoughts – Ki Tissa

    Bezalel, by James Tissot, c. 1896

    Bezalel, by James Tissot, c. 1896

    B’tzalel the craftsman had the ability lach’shov mach’shavot, “to think thoughts” (Ex. 31:4).

    Translators render the Hebrew, “to make designs”. There are some people who are skilled at implementing the designs of others, whilst another category are capable of thinking the thoughts but not so good at the technical aspects of turning the ideas into reality. B’tzalel was unusual in that he was good at both.

    The chapter that describes him begins with the Almighty announcing, “See, I have called by name B’tzalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur…” (Ex. 31:2). Rashi understands “I have called by name” as “I have designated”. Possibly one can read the words differently and regard them as an explanation of the name B’tzalel, literally “In the shadow of God”.

    The morning prayers say, Baruch she-amar v’hayah ha’olam, “Blessed be He who spoke and the world came into being”. God gave an example of combining thinking and doing. B’tzalel emulated His double quality. Rare indeed are those who can emulate B’tzalel.

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