Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  LifeLine
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Vayakhel

There's Nothing Left to Give

And the Princes [heads of the tribes] brought the onyx stones, and the stones to be set for the ephod and the breastplate." (35:27)

Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki quotes a Medrash, which elaborates: this is the totality of what they brought. The princes brought nothing else, because the rest of the nation -- the "regular people" -- brought everything necessary to build the entire Tabernacle ("And the work was sufficient for all the construction, in order to do it, and more" [36:7]). Nothing was left for the princes to give, save the stones for the breastplate!

The Medrash records: Rabbi Nosson said, why is it that the Princes gave first at the Dedication of the Tabernacle, whereas when it came to the actual construction, they did the opposite? The answer is that the Princes said: let the congregation give what they will give, and whatever remains, we will fill in. The nation then brought everything that was needed. This being the case, the princes said "what is left for us to do?" -- and they brought the precious stones. And for this reason, they gave first when it came time to dedicate the Tabernacle. They didn't want to make the same mistake twice.

Imagine a congregation building a new synagogue today. What would happen if a donor offered to "finish the job" after the other congregants had contributed whatever they wished? Obviously, the board would jump for joy. The synagogue would be built! And in fact, this would most likely inspire a more relaxed (i.e. lazy) attitude on the part of the fundraiser and the other congregants -- after all, the money was as good as theirs already, due to the generous man or woman in the back. But according to the Medrash, it was the Princes who were guilty of laziness -- and perhaps they underestimated the dedication of the people at large.

The Nation of Israel did not want to give up the opportunity to be part of the Temple. They didn't hold back, and wait to see what others would do. Nor did they rely on the Princes' guarantee. Each one said: I want to participate! It didn't matter that the work would be done without them - on the contrary, no one wanted to be left out. Each one saw an opportunity to give, to contribute to the benefit of the entire Jewish nation, and did so. And they gave so much that there was extra. They gave so much that Moshe found it necessary to instructions out to the people to stop giving [36:6], assuring us that had he not done so, they wouldn't have stopped for a good while longer.

The Chofetz Chaim of Radin notes that the Torah indicates the laziness of the Princes by dropping an optional letter "Yud" ordinarily found in the Hebrew word "Nesi'im," Princes. By contrast, the Torah describes in full detail the gifts of each Prince at the Dedication of the Tabernacle -- even though each of the twelve brought precisely the same gift as all the others. All of this, he explains, is to teach us the greatness before G-d of working together, with energy and dedication, rather than allowing feelings of superiority or jealousy to divide us. When people rush forward to work on behalf of the entire group -- instead of holding themselves above others, or looking out for their personal interests -- then this is valued dearly by G-d, the Torah... and by other people, as well.

Good Shabbos,
Rabbi Yaakov Menken


Text Copyright 2004 by Torah.org.

The author is the Director of Project Genesis - Torah.org.


 


ARTICLES ON MIKETZ AND CHANUKAH:

View Complete List

Behind the Gray Blur
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5768

Different Missions In Life Require Different Techniques of Living
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5772

A Tale of Two Pharoahs
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5762

> Chanukah Oil: A Real No-Know
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5762

The Many Into The Hands of the Few
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5763

The Lost Jewel
Shlomo Katz - 5765

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Don't Forget the Butler
Shlomo Katz - 5758

Living Lessons
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5766

Outstanding Credit Wine
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5761

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Some on Chariots, and Some on Horses
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5758

Build with Your Dreams
Shlomo Katz - 5772

Festival of The Reflecting Lights
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5773

ArtScroll

A Celebration of Spiritual Victory
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5764

The Key To Something More
Rabbi Label Lam - 5762

Yosef's Approach to God-Based Events
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5771

The Miracle of the Oil
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5775



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information