In this weeks portion, we finish the book of Sh’mot, Exodus, and read the twin parshayot Vayakhel and Pekudei.
At the beginning, Moses reiterates the commandment to observe Shabbat, and then goes on to explain, in excruciating detail, the construction of the Mishkan, the Tabernacle, that is to be Hashem’s dwelling place with the Israelites as they travel. The question in this portion is what, in all of these details regarding the kind of blue, purple and red dyed wool, goat hair, animal skins, gold, silver, and copper, what can we learn from this, this mishegas? This craziness?
This is the questions I asked myself:
What does this have to do with me?
At the beginning of the portion, Moses asks the Israelites to donate these rich and precious materials to build G_d’s house, His Tabernacle, and to work to build the Sanctuary.
And what do the Jews do?
And give some more.
The Torah says:
“Every man and woman whose heart motivated them to bring for any of the work that Hashem had commanded to make, through Moses – the Children of Israel brought a free-willed offering to Hashem.”
They came and gave freely. Not only did they give, they worked, they sewed and built and labored.
In fact, they gave so much of their possessions and of themselves that Moses had to say, “Man and woman shall not do more work toward the gift for the Sanctuary”!
Moses told them to stop!
So what did I learn from this?
We are called to give, not as charity and not just money. Jews are called to give tzedakah, which means “righteousness” or “justice”. We are called to do right with ourselves and our resources.
Not just of money, not just of gold and silver and goat skins.
We need to give and give until Moshe Rabbenu himself tells us “Enough!”
And then, being Jews, we should give some more!