Shabbat Vayakhel

Parashat Shekalim
Friday March 4th Candles 5:31pm
Havdalah the 5th at 6:39pm
Shabbat Mevarchin Rosh Hodesh Adar 2 Thursday and Friday

The Torah describes how the Tabernacle was built. Quite apart from the construction, what strikes us significant is how the people donated all the raw material. Bearing in mind that they had emerged from Egypt as slaves, the amount of gold and silver and precious stones and material they donated seems enormous. And there was so much coming in that in the end Moses had to proclaim that enough was enough. Where did it all come from? Was it the pay off they were given by the Egyptians to get out after the plagues? Did they take advantage of the trade routes through Sinai to deal or to protect caravans? We can only speculate.

Those who could give, gave. Those who had skills in weaving, metalwork and jewelry donated them to the project. But I am struck also by the fact that both men and women donated together and worked together on the project. This was a communal effort in the full sense of the word. Everyone contributed one way or another.

The Torah describes the men and women who contributed as being “Chacham Lev,” of Wise Heart. What did that mean? Chochma is usually translated as “Wisdom,” and Lev is sometimes used for “brain” and sometimes for “heart.” For a long time people thought emotions were based in the heart which is why we have red hearts on Valentines Day and use hearts to symbolize love. Logically we might as well use thumbs!!

I suggest that what the Torah is making the point that there were two requirements, the skill, but also the feeling, the commitment and passion. A building in itself, a skill in itself can be so much more beneficial if the intentions that go into it are good too.