Not More! Not Less! Not Easy!
By Rabbi Label Lam
These are the numbers (pekudei- designations) of the Mishkan, the Mishkan
of the Testimony, which were counted at Moshe’s command; [this was] the work
of the Levites under the direction of Ithamar, the son of Aaron the Kohen.
These are the numbers: In this Parsha, all the weights of the donations
for the Mishkan were counted -[that] of silver, of gold, and of copper. And
all its implements for all its work were [also] counted. (Rashi)
We are treated to a full accounting of the appropriation of the materials
invested in the construction of the Tabernacle. Is there a trust issue here
and everything has to spelled out for transparency sake? Is that the reason
for all these myriad of details? Yes, there is a trust issue but of a
different kind that is being expressed here as an all-time lesson.
The Sefas Emes reveals a secret that many in the world would be anxious
to know and tap into. He spells out how to create wealth. This is not some
get rich quick scheme. It really works and all according to the spiritual
laws of the universe. This may be the basis to the notion that Jews somehow
control wealth in the world. It just might be true but not as crudely as our
detractors would imagine.
He quotes a Possuk in Mishlei mentioned in the Midrash on this week’s
Parsha… “A man of Emunos- reliability will attract an abundance of
Brochos-Blessings!” These are the numbers: In this parsha, all the weights
of the donations for the Mishkan were counted -[that] of silver, of gold,
and of copper. And all its implements for all its work were [also]
counted.These are the numbers: In this parsha, all the weights of the
donations for the Mishkan were counted -[that] of silver, of gold, and of
copper. And all its implements for all its work were [also] counted.These
are the numbers: In this parsha, all the weights of the donations for the
Mishkan were counted -[that] of silver, of gold, and of copper. And all its
implements for all its work were [also] counted. He offers the following
terse explanation. “HASHEM, the source of all good wants to bestow blessing
on all of his creatures. If the recipient is not reliable and through the
reception of wealth he will come to forget his Creator and will slip into
sin, then since all of HASHEM’s deeds are calculated truth for the real good
of the person, then the good is withheld so he should not come to sin.” The
Sefas Emes continues in his explanation that the Jewish Nation here is
mandated to build that Temple according to Divine specs and also to keep
The precise use of all the materials without any deviation or
misappropriation establishes a bond of trust that invites blessing. This is
the exact cure for not getting too far from the source of the blessing.
Shabbos is that Temple in time and though it’s observance our Emunah is
reaffirmed again and again week after week.The entirety of creation is
thereby delivered to its ultimate sublime source and the channel of Brocho
is opened for the whole world, not just the Jews.
That sounds easy enough. All we have to be is reliable- trustworthy not
to become corrupted by wealth and it is ours to not be ours. Rabbi Avigdor
Miller offers to the following scenario of a wealthy young man emptying a
big bag of money on the table to be counted. Suddenly a nickel falls off the
table and rolls underneath. When he climbs down on all fours to search for
the missing coin, a witness to his action reminds him he is a wealth man and
wonders why he is exerting so much effort for a five cent piece. Then the
wealthy young man answers that this is the money that belongs to the free
lone society and not his at all. He is required to account for every penny.
Then his actions are understood.
I once heard about a certain wealthy man who raised a beautiful Torah
family. Someone asked one of his daughters how he managed not to spoil them
with the abundance of wealth that was always available. Her answer was
astonishing. “My father gave us total access to some well-endowed accounts
and he told us to take whatever we needed and whenever we needed, but he
cautioned that the money was designated for charity and whatever we helped
ourselves to, will be deducted from whatever will be available to help
Kollel couples, and make more seminars to create Ba’alei Teshvah.”
This is what he was doing constantly with his moneys, and therefore they
helped themselves sparingly and generously with this appreciation in mind.
The money is Hekdesh… belonging to Heaven and we are just its stewards and
cashiers. Not more! Not less. Not easy!
DvarTorah, Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Label Lam and Torah.org.