• Maverick (Avigdor) Peters

Parshas Vayakhel 2018: Giving for Hashem

The two parshios (Torah portions) of Vayakhel and Pekudei parallel those of Terumah and Tetzaveh. Terumah and Tetzaveh relay Hashem’s instruction for the building of the Mishkan and the sewing of the bigdei kahuna (priestly garments), while Vayakhel and Pekudei enlighten us on how the actual construction process went down.

The Mishkan (Tabernacle) and all its vessels required a lot of precious material. Each person donated what he could for the construction project. As it says, “Every man whose heart inspired him came; and everyone whose spirit motivated him brought the portion of Hashem for the work of the Tent of Meeting, for all its labor and for the sacred vestments.” (Shemos 35:21)

However, it wasn’t the physical material Hashem wanted. He wanted their sincere efforts towards the structure where His Holy Presence could dwell. Much stress is placed on the fact that these were donations not mandatory “taxes” or “fees”.

We are taught, there were two types of givers. There were those who were inspired to give voluntarily and wholeheartedly and there were those who gave even more than they could afford. The, the construction of the Mishkan was so monumental it was worthy of giving away everything.

The passuk also says, “The men came with the women….”. According to the view of Ramban, the women’s alacrity far outshined the men’s. They heard that precious metals were needed, and they immediately removed their own jewelry and rushed to bring them.

The parsha continues, “The work had been enough…. and there was extra.” (Shemos 36:1). Not only did the people give, but they overextended themselves and there was a surplus.

The only problem is, how could there have been “enough”, yet at the same time have been “extra”?

Or HaChaim explains, in order to use each person’s gifts for the Mishkan and not embarrass the donors by declining their generous gifts a miracle happened. Everything that was “extra” was able to be included in the Mishkan without altering their prescribed measurements.

What is it about the Mishkan that caused our people to act with such unbridled enthusiasm to donate their precious metals and jewelry?

The nation understood the value in the Mishkan. They came from Har Sinai (Mount Sinai) where they received the Torah, got a good taste of Hashem’s holiness and were “inspired and uplifted” to give whatever they could. Some of them even more than they could.

Their enthusiasm is a model for us. We should remember there is always a shul or Jewish organization that could use some financial help and these institutions represent; Hashem’s Torah. We should feel the same way as our ancestors and predecessors. We shouldn’t pass up on the opportunity to help them and more importantly, to show Hashem how sincere we are in our efforts as Jews.

Have a wonderful Shabbos and weekend!

Maverick V. Peters

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