Parshas Tetzaveh -
by Rabbi Dovid Green
In last week's parsha a list of all the materials needed for the building of
the Tabernacle is given. At the end of the list comes the precious stones
which were placed in the clothing of the Kohein Gadol - The High Priest,
which are discussed in this week's parsha. Rabbi Chaim Shmuelevitz asks why
these stones which are highest in value are enumerated last. They should be
Rabbi Shmuelevitz answers that they come last because a basic, important
ingredient was missing. That is that since these stones came to the donors
easily, without toil, there was no great act of good will in giving them.
That is why they are enumerated last.
Rabbi Shmuelevitz bases this on the premise that it seems that human nature
is that things which we toil over are the things most dear to us. Things
which come easily don't require much of our effort, and since we put so
little into them they don't take up a big place in our hearts. Hence the
saying, "easy come, easy go."
The central institution of "avodah," service of G-d, must be founded on the
highest level of good will - giving that which was toiled over, and is very
dear to the donors.
This is an important point in many areas of life. What we invest time and
effort into will turn out to be the things we hold dearest. The Sages
(Tractate Derech Eretz Zuta) say as follows. One who wishes to love another
person should get involved in doing good for them.
Conversely, there are so many things in life which we invest effort into,
and in the last analysis really didn't deserve the place of prominence in
our lives which we ascribed to it. A wise person tries to discern which
things in life deserve his most strenuous efforts.
Haman, the "bad guy" in the Book of Esther, required everyone to bow to him
when he passed by. Mordechai refused to bow. Haman, a rich and extremely
powerful person could not appreciate any of his "blessings" so long as
Mordechai refused to bow. This attitude ultimately led to Haman's downfall.
Haman's efforts were only directed to self-aggrandizement. He invested every
fiber of his being to going up the ladder toward further honor and
recognition. His mistake is a lesson to all generations.
In our generation, which provides us with so many things to get involved in,
we constantly must ask ourselves as follows. "Are we really dedicating our
lives to things of substance?" Or, like Haman, are we chasing after empty
dreams which vanish as soon as our eyes are opened? Let's learn from Haman.
Let's consider what is truly important and deserving of our precious time.
Let's make our toils and efforts something fit to give to the King of Kings.
Text Copyright © 1998 Rabbi Dovid Green and
Project Genesis, Inc.