Sharona Margolin Halickman

Don’t Make Hasty Decisions

Parshat Vayakhel goes to great lengths to describe the gifts that both the men and women brought to the Mishkan (Tabernacle).

The Torah doesn’t waste words so what is the meaning behind the listing of all of the intricate details of their contributions?

According to Ramban, the passage outlining the way that the people brought their contributions for the Mishkan as well as Moshe’s proclamation that they received enough (and his request that people stop contributing) stresses the fact that the people were generous, the craftsmen were dedicated and Moshe was unselfish.

This can be contrasted with the Sin of the Golden Calf (Shmot 32:3) where the giving of the jewelry was done very quickly and without details: “All the people broke off their earrings of gold…And they brought them to Aharon.”

When the people donated to the Mishkan, their contributions were made with their hearts and souls.

The contributions for the Golden Calf were done hastily and without much thought. Moshe had not yet returned from Mount Sinai and the people were looking for a leader so they quickly contributed. As soon as Moshe returned they just as quickly turned away from the Golden Calf.

We see from here that it is important to take the time to consider what we are doing as opposed to making a quick decision that we may later regret.

Unfortunately many people get mixed up in “get rich quick” scams that look too good to be true but don’t end up panning out.

The proper path to follow is to emulate what B’nai Yisrael did when they made contributions to the Mishkan, they gave their hearts, their souls and their material belongings.

In the Shma prayer (Dvarim 6:5) we are commanded to “love our God with all of your heart, with all of your soul and with all of your possessions.”

In the case of the Golden Calf they were only contributing their possessions, independent of their hearts and souls.

As the elections in Israel are approaching, we must remember that the choice of who to vote for should be well thought out. The idea of having campaigners trying to sway us on our way to vote belittles the voters who have already put their heart and soul into the decision of who they will be voting for.

About the Author
Sharona holds a BA in Judaic Studies from Stern College and an MS in Jewish Education from Azrieli Graduate School, Yeshiva University. Sharona was the first Congregational Intern and Madricha Ruchanit at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, NY. After making aliya in 2004, Sharona founded Torat Reva Yerushalayim, a non profit organization based in Jerusalem which provides Torah study groups for students of all ages and backgrounds.
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