It would have been wise for the Egyptians,to have developed some of our forefathers into fine craftsmen who could have contributed to society. This would have come in handy for us, especially when we had the necessity to build the Mishkan. I Yet, I am unaware of statements of Chazal that speak of the artisans of the Mishkan having such training, and the p’sukim imply the opposite.
The six p’sukim of our maftir, known as Parashat Shekalim (Shemot 30:11-16), combine so many separate concepts that at first appear as referring to the same thing that it is difficult to keep things straight. At the center of it all, though, is the half-shekel coin. Let us see what it is apparently connected to.
Our parasha begins with the laws of Shabbat (Shmot 35:1-3) before beginning the description of the actual building of the Mishkan. We also find that in the previous parasha, Ki Tisa, there is mention of the mitzva of Shabbat. “Hashem said to Moshe, speak to Bnei Yisrael: You shall nevertheless keep my Shabbatot, for it is a sign between Me and you…” (Shemot 31:12-13).
Parashat Vayakhel tells in a very repetitive, detailed manner that that which was commanded to be made and constructed in Parashat Teruma and some of Parashat Tetzaveh was done correctly. The people who were commanded to do the work are referred to almost entirely by pronouns. The commands, presumably addressed to Moshe, use primarily the word “v’asita” (second person singular). In several places, it says “v’asu” (third person plural). That presumably implies that when Moshe was not to do something, it was to be done by a group of other people.