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Browse Torah Articles: Sefer Shemot: Parashat Pequdeh: Vihi Noam

Contributed by: R. Ezra E. Miztahi

"Moshe inspected the work and saw that they had done it just as Hashem had commanded. So Moshe blessed them." (Shemot 39:43)

In parashat Peqoude, we read of the completion of all the work of the Mishkan. Once all the work was actually completed, we read of Moshe blessing the nation. Rashi writes that this blessing was that Hashem should dwell in their actions, always. Using the familiar words: "Yehi Noam Hashem Alenou etc."

You are no doubt familiar with this verse that is usually said immediately before any Tefillah, and also Mosaei Shabbat after the amidah.

What do the words mean?

Here is a rough translation of the text: "May the pleasantness of Hashem rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us, yes, establish the work of our hands." (Tehillim 90:17)

This verse was later established by David in Tehillim. Moshe recited this prayer after the Mishkan was erected, praying for the fulfillment of Hashem's words, that once a place was built, the divine presence will descend and occupy this space. However, many commentators learn from the repetition in the verse, "Konenah alenou" and "konenehou" that Moshe is speaking about two different concepts. The first, in the very least, refers back to the Mishkan, "Maaseh Yadenou" the actual product of the hands of the nation. But the second refers to anything and everything that a Jew is partaking in; Moshe is blessing that there be a divine connection in all that we do.

Other commentators take this verse in a different direction. The verse refers to the "noam" or pleasantness of Hashem to reside with us. This can only happen with a clear understanding of the Torah. After one toils and toils to understand the depth of our eternal Torah, will one be given this "noam" of Hashem, as clarity befalls upon his studies.
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