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More than Enough

03/18/2020 05:52:15 PM


There is a joke that is often told about Parshat Vayahel-Pekudei that it records the only time in history where the Jewish people were told to stop giving money. After conveying God’s instructions for the building of the Tabernacle, the Israelites eagerly provide all the material and gold for the project. The donations were so great that the workers had to inform Moses that the Israelites had donated more than enough. Moreover, when explaining that every morning people would bring gifts for the construction of the Tabernacle, there is a redundancy of the word “morning.” David Shoham suggests that this doubling of the word depicts and eagerness of the Israelites to donate to such a noble cause, that they would wake up early each morning to donate.

I can’t help but to juxtapose this rush of energy to build the Tabernacle to the rush to the supermarket to buy toilet paper. Whereas the donations for the Tabernacle represented a selfless enthusiasm towards the worthy cause, the rush to panic buy toilet paper is fueled by self/familial-centered concern. Whereas the eagerness to donate to the Tabernacle filled the coffers, the scurry to the supermarket has left shelves bare. It is clear that when human beings feel motivated, they can easily move mountains and create a big impact in the world around them. The question is whether we are using that energy for selfish or noble purposes.

Over these past few days, I have been inspired by the care and support that our community has shown towards one another. Many individuals have raised their hand to offer to volunteer their time and resources to one another and to those in need. We all are asking each other if we are okay, and if there is any way we can be supportive. However, we are only at the beginning of this crisis. Will our enthusiasm continue in such a way akin to the construction of the Tabernacle? Or will our selfishness limit us and cause us to spiral in the other direction? As a society, we have the capacity to go either way. Hopefully, we can keep this trend strong, support those in need and those who attending to the needs of the sick, and I can dream of a future where we can say that we actually have more than enough support.

Shabbat Shalom

Tue, December 5 2023 22 Kislev 5784