Exodus 39:6-7:

וַֽיַּעֲשׂוּ֙ אֶת־אַבְנֵ֣י הַשֹּׁ֔הַם וַיָּ֣שֶׂם אֹתָ֗ם עַ֚ל כִּתְפֹ֣ת הָאֵפֹ֔ד

And they wrought the onyx stones, And he (Betzalel according to Netziv here) put them on the shoulder-pieces of the ephod.

This seems like a split job. Multiple people were involved in making it. Why didn't they finish the job and setting it in its proper place? Why did only Betzalel do that?

  • Because shaping it just right takes time and can be split up whereas placing it doesn't, I guess.
    – msh210
    Mar 12, 2015 at 18:03
  • How do you know the singular referent is Betzalel?
    – Double AA
    Mar 1, 2016 at 4:01
  • @DoubleAA, Netziv says that, I'll edit it in Mar 9, 2018 at 2:59
  • It is far from clear that אבני שהם are onyx. The Targum says בורלא.
    – Dov F
    Mar 9, 2018 at 21:34
  • Betzalel had assistants, but he was the "master craftman" who applied the finishes. Sep 5, 2018 at 9:19

1 Answer 1


Netziv (Shemos 36:9, see also 36:2 at that link) answers this question by saying that in each Melacha, the Torah makes an effort to use a Lashon Rabim to give credit to the workers. Generally this pattern is that a singular wording is used to open the Melacha, as Betzalel was the one who initiated each Melacha, and then the group is mentioned, but here, since Betzalel alone placed the stones in the Choshen, the group of workers was mentioned in the first Passuk only.

Essentially, the work of placing the stones was a single person's job, while the creation was not. Netziv also notes that each Melacha is "called by the name of the finisher", which may be another reason for emphasizing just him.

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