This week’s Torah portions, Vayakhel-P’kudy (which conclude the book of Exodus), deal with building the tabernacle mishkan – משכן
The Torah us that everyone contributed to the cause of building the tabernacle. So much of every item was donated that an announcement was made, ordering all the people to halt their generosity.
There is one group of people that the Torah mentions as contributors.
וְאֶל כָּל-אִישׁ חֲכַם-לֵב, אֲשֶׁר נָתַן יְהוָה חָכְמָה בְּלִבּוֹ–כֹּל
אֲשֶׁר נְשָׂאוֹ לִבּוֹ, לְקָרְבָה אֶל-הַמְּלָאכָה לַעֲשֹׂת אֹתָהּ
וַיִּקְחוּ מִלִּפְנֵי מֹשֶׁה, אֵת כָּל-הַתְּרוּמָה אֲשֶׁר הֵבִיאוּ בְּנֵי
יִשְׂרָאֵל לִמְלֶאכֶת עֲבֹדַת הַקֹּדֶשׁ–לַעֲשֹׂת אֹתָהּ
וְהֵם הֵבִיאוּ אֵלָיו עוֹד, נְדָבָה–בַּבֹּקֶר בַּבֹּקֶר
“And all those who Hashem inspired with wisdom to do the work. They took in front of Moshe the donations that the Jews brought for the work of the Mishkan, and the brought an additional offering each morning” (Exodus 36:2-4).
Question: Why did the Torah single out that these people brought something to the Mishkan? Didn’t everybody?
A story is told about Rabbi Zusia of Anipoly.
As poor as he was, Rabbi Zusia and his wife gathered together enough money for a seamstress to sew a beautiful gown for the engagement party of their daughter – a bride-to-be.
When the gown was ready, Rabbi Zusia’s wife went with the money to the home of the seamstress to get the finished gown.
Rabbi Zusia and the daughter were anxiously waiting at home to see the gown. But his wife returned home empty-handed.
“Where is the gown?” asked both the Rebbe and his daughter, almost in unison.
“Well,” said his wife, “I did a good deed – “mitzvah”. When I came to pick up the gown, I saw tears in the eyes of the seamstress. I asked her why she was crying and she told me that her daughter, too, was getting married. Then she looked at the beautiful gown that she had sewn for me and sighed, “if only we could afford such beautiful material for a gown.”
The wife continued. “At that moment I decided to let the seamstress have our gown as a gift!”
Rabbi Zusia was delighted. The good deed of helping a poor bride was dear to him and he longed for the opportunity to fulfill it.
But he had a question. “Did you pay her for the work she did for us?”
“Pay her?” asked the wife, “I gave her the gorgeous gown!”
“I’m sorry,” said the Rabbi. “You told me the gown was a gift. We still owe her for the weeks of work she spent for us.”
His wife agreed and, in addition to the gift of the gown she paid the seamstress for her work.
The men and women who toiled laboriously could have said that they had done their share. After all, they crafted and wove the beautiful utensils and tapestries of the Tabernacle. Yet that was not enough for them. In addition to the work they did, they contributed too!
They did not stop their commitment with their work of building the Tabernacle – Mishkan.
The Torah tells us that they, too, gave each morning. In addition to their time and their skills, they donated their possessions.
Contact us to find out about our unique Hebrew programs and products.
Yoel & Orly