Parshat Vayakhel: Build
וַיְצַ֣ו מֹשֶׁ֗ה וַיַּעֲבִ֨ירוּ ק֥וֹל בַּֽמַּחֲנֶה֮ לֵאמֹר֒ אִ֣ישׁ וְאִשָּׁ֗ה אַל־יַעֲשׂוּ־ע֛וֹד מְלָאכָ֖ה לִתְרוּמַ֣ת הַקֹּ֑דֶשׁ וַיִּכָּלֵ֥א הָעָ֖ם מֵהָבִֽיא׃
Moses had this proclamation made throughout the camp: “Let no one make further gifts for the sanctuary!” So the people stopped bringing.
When Moses asked for contributions to build the Mishkan, the portable center for worshiping God in the wilderness, he probably did not expect such a resounding response. After only a few days, all of the materials were collected. The gold, silver, copper, leathers, wood, spices – everything was given in abundance until finally Moses made the surprising announcement to stop giving donations. From this we learn a few valuable lessons:
- Give when you can. When there is a need, and you have the means, the ability to give is a blessing that won’t last forever.
- Know when you have enough. Having too much can be just as troublesome as having too little.
- Giving material goods is only giving half of what’s needed. At this point, Moses needed the Israelites to give of their time and skills to take the materials and make something holy with them.
Though we are no longer building the Mishkan, each of us can be engaged in building something holy. We work on our person, always making ourselves into the best we can be. We work on our Jewish community, giving of ourselves to build a whole that’s even greater than its parts. We work on the local, national, and even global community, giving what and when we can to heal a broken world. The Torah dedicates chapters and chapters to the task of building something holy. It’s a challenge to us to build something holy too.