Bezalel’s Leadership

Parashat VaYakhel-Pekudei

Bezalel is a key character in our parashiyyot. In Tractate Berakhot (55a), there is a short sugya that deals with Bezalel ben Uri, one of the chief artisans building the mishkan (tabernacle).  This sugya raises varied perceptions regarding the qualities necessary for leadership and the qualifications of a leader.  In the following lines, I will suggest that this discussion of the leadership model that Bezalel presents, a discussion found at the end of the book of Exodus, is an added step in the distancing from Egypt, a step from a reality in which Moshe the man of God is the leader, towards the possibility of human leadership of a different kind. (5777)