Parshas Pekudei

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By Rabbi Shloimie Lindenbaum

אלה פקודי המשכן (פרק לח פסוק כא)

After בני ישראל finished donating all of the materials needed for the משכן, and the craftsmen assembled it and the כלים, the Torah gives a detailed accounting of all of the donations and what they were used for. The מדרש says that this was necessary because there were people amongst בני ישראל who doubted that everything was used for the משכן. Some even suspected משה of keeping some of the wealth for himself. R’ Zalman Sorotzkin points out that we see this trait in our times as well when many people ask צדקה and חסד organizations for an exact accounting of their funds to make sure that every dollar is being spent with a cause. He points out, however, that after בני ישראל gave an abundance of gold towards the עגל הזהב, we don’t find that they asked for an accounting. Why weren’t they concerned there as well that their money is being used properly? R’ Zalman answers that the truest, most innermost desire of every Jew is to serve Hashem properly and do His will. Therefore, when giving money towards a מצוה, people are very exacting with how the money is used because they want to make sure that they are doing as big of a מצוה as possible. When, however, people spend money on an עבירה- be it an עגל הזהב, or some other impure expenditure, they don’t truly want to do it, they were swayed by the יצר הרע. Therefore, they do not need an accounting of every dollar; they wouldn’t mind if some of the money wasn’t actually used for the עבירה and they would be guilty of a smaller sin.

כאשר צוה ה’ כן עשו (פרק לט פסוק מג)

Throughout the construction of the משכן the Torah reiterates that בני ישראל did everything exactly as Hashem commanded. The בית הלוי explains the significance of this repetition especially in the building of the משכן. He says that the מצוה of building the משכן was meant as an atonement for the sin of the עגל הזהב. The root of the עגל was that we took matters into our own hands and wanted to do things our way, making our own decisions. When we followed our own logic without subjugating ourselves and our reasoning to Hashem, we ended up in a sin of עבודה זרה. By building the משכן exactly how Hashem commanded and constantly following every detail of His command, we achieved a כפרה for the עבירה of acting solely on our own decisions.

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