The Parsha begins with an introduction on how to build the Mishkan. But before the Torah explains how the Mishkan has to be built, it interjects with a warning about Shabbos observance, and then goes on to explain what was necessary for the Mishkan.
Rabbi Mordechai Kaminietzky asks two questions on the opening of our parsha.
1. Why does the Torah teach Shabbos in the middle of the instrucutions of how to build the Mishkan? Surely such a big topic as Shabbos needs its own Parsha,or at least a section in its own right?2. If it does need to be taught in the section concerning the Mishkan, why is it not taught at the end. For instance, the Torah should have started by saying this is how you build the Mishkan…go on to explain it, and then tell everyone about the importance of Shabbos? Why is it placed at the beginning?
I was thinking that one way to answer this question is to look at what Shabbos represents. It is m’ein olam haba, and the gemora explains that Shabbos represents a sixtieth of olam habo. In this sense, Shabbos represents a knowledge of malchus in the world which encapsulates G’d’s Oneness and total rule over everything. By placing Shabbos within the Mishkan the Torah is helping us understand the role of the Mishkan – as a vessel to achieve an appreciation of HaShem’s Malchus.
In fact, becasue Shabbos is brought in the middle of the construction of the Mishkan, we can imply that the the purpose of the Mishkan is to some degree, the essence of what we try to achieve on Shabbos.
To answer the second question, once we establish that the goal of Shabbos is in reality the goal of the Mishkan, we do not want to lose sight of that goal and become distracted by things that aren’t the key focus of the Mishkan. If we become too focussed on the building, we may lose sight of what is supposed to happen within. I also believe that this message can be applied to anything that we do. If we ask ourselves the following 3 questions, we are bound to succeed.
1) What is the purpose of what i’m about to do?
2) How can I achieve that purpose
3) How can I avoid being distracted by other things within the action that I am about to do
May we all be focussed on what is necessary for us to do and achieve the goals set out for us in correct manner.