It’s the effort that counts
ויקם משה את-המשכן ויתן את-אדניו וישם את-קרשיו ויתן את-בריחיו ויקם את-עמודיו
Moshe erected the Mishkan; he placed the sockets and inserted the beams, placed the bars and erected its posts
This week’s parsha includes an accounting of the materials of the Mishkan, the Tabernacle, the manufacturing of the clothing of the Kohanim, and finally the construction of the Mishkan itself. The verse describes how Moshe erected the Mishkan, placing the kerashim, the beams, into their sockets. The Midrash describes the prelude to this: how everyone came to Moshe and said to him that they couldn’t construct the Mishkan; it was too heavy. The beams were massive, and weighed a ton, especially since they were plated in solid gold. Moshe responded by asking them what they expected him to do about that. Moshe was an elderly man in his eighties; they couldn’t reasonably demand that he do it for them. Hashem told Moshe to make an attempt to erect it. Even though his own efforts would have been meaningless, Hashem would do the rest. He made the attempt and was able to erect the beams.
This Midrash contains an important lesson for this. While this was a more dramatic demonstration, where Moshe miraculously lifted the beams, Hashem is communicating something deeper to us. At the end of the day, our efforts don’t really affect the results. What’s known as hishtadlus, meaning endeavor or effort, is simply an obligation we have to do. Sometimes we try to things and we don’t get the results we want, and sometimes we do. What really determines the results? Hashem. Hashem was telling Moshe that it doesn’t matter that he thought his efforts wouldn’t do anything. If Hashem wants the results to come about, they will. However, Hashem wasn’t going to just make the Mishkan construct itself. Moshe had to put in his effort. This is something to remind ourselves when we’re working really hard on something. If something doesn’t work out as we expected, it’s no reason to get depressed. This is because it wasn’t really in our hands to begin with. However, that doesn’t mean we can shirk our responsibilities. We still have to make the effort.
From the little that I know from Kabbalah, there’s a concept that Hashem interacts with the world through ten different attributes known as Sefiros. Each of these Sefiros are represented by a different person in Tanach. For example, Avraham represented chesed, loving kindness. Chesed is one of the Sefiros, one of the ways that Hashem interacts with us. Yitzchok was gevurah, strength. What did Moshe represent? He represented netzach, eternality. What this is saying is that everything Moshe did was forever. For example, he took us out of Egypt, and we were never to return there in enslavement. He gave us the eternal Torah. This is the reason why Moshe couldn’t lead us into the land of Israel, because if he did then we would never have been exiled. Another example of this is that when Moshe erected the beams, it was forever. Even though the Mishkan was portable and taken apart and put back together, Chazal tell us that the beams of the Mishkan are today still erect, underground, standing vertically. I’m not sure the significance of this, but what is pretty amazing is the fact that Moshe didn’t really erect the beams. It was beyond his ability. However, since he made the effort, it is considered as something he actually did. We can say the same with us: when we put in our hishtadlus, all the results are attributed to us.
 Based on various ideas I heard from Rabbi Yaakov Lynn from Shapell’s and another Rabbi that I studied with through Partners in Torah
 Exodus 40:18
 Tanchuma 18, brought by Rashi to Exodus 39:33
 Exodus 26:15-30
 See Rav Dessler’s approach to this topic in Michtav M’Eliyahu Volume 1 pages 187-197. He says that after the sin of Adam eating from the tree, part of the curse placed on humanity is the requirement to put in hishtadlus. This wasn’t to say that results came from the effort; rather it’s like a prerequisite before any results can come. Once a person has fulfilled their obligation, putting in more effort won’t necessitate better results
 Zohar Vayechi 213b
 ibid Lech Lecha 90b and hashmatos Bereishis 264a
 ibid Bereishis 21b; Raya Mehemnah Pinchas 243a. Netzach is also translated as victory
 And the exiles were necessary as an alternative to destroying the Jewish people themselves. I’m not sure the source for this statement; I believe I heard the idea from Rav Yitzchok Berkowitz. My roommate told me there’s a Midrash that says that had Moshe built the Beis HaMidkash, the Temple, it would have never been destroyed
 Sotah 9a and Sukkah 45b; The gemarra in Sotah says that they’re still erect because it was done by a righteous person, and gives the gates of the Temple which were made by Dovid HaMelech as another example. However, this isn’t necessarily a contradiction; both ideas could be true. The gemarra in Sukkah attests that they will stand forever