23 Adar 5772 / March 16-17, 2012
In this week’s double portion (we read both Vayakhel and Pekudei), we conclude the Book of Exodus. We find the Israelites constructing the Tabernacle and everything that comes along with it. As we read last week, the Israelites were asked to contribute gold, silver, fabrics and the like for the construction of the Tabernacle.
We learn in this week’s portion that the two gents responsible for overseeing the construction spoke to Moses, saying:
“The people have already provided more than enough [resources] for the work which God has commanded us to do.” (Ex. 36:5)
So Moses made it known throughout the camp that there was already a surplus of donated materials for construction, and that the Israelites should refrain from further contributions.
What is it to give too much?
As it related to the construction of the Tabernacle, there was a finite need for resources, and that need was met. But should those who were standing in line hoping to contribute to such a holy project not be provided the opportunity to feel that their contributions mattered as well?
We’re told that when originally asked to bring materials for the construction of the Tabernacle, the Israelites were instructed to have “all those whose hearts are willing” make a contribution (Ex. 25:2). In this case, there were many willing hearts. It appears that whether or not the contribution is actually taken/utilized, what really mattered was the Israelites’ wholehearted attempt to give.
What is it to have a willing heart?
What is it to give of your self?
Are you present for those who need you?
When are you generous?
What are you generous with? Time? Resources? Love?
This Shabbat, take a moment to reflect on your generosity.
Take stock of your heart’s willingness to contribute.
And then, take action.