Kenneth Cohen

The Integrity of Moshe Rabbeinu

Parshat Pekudei describes the meticulous accounting done by Moshe Rabbeinu in building the Mishkan. He attempted to show exactly how every item contributed was used, so that there would be no question regarding his integrity.

Moshe ran into some difficulty as he wasn’t exactly able to balance the books. When he compared the weight of gold that was donated with what it was used, he showed a surplus of 1775 shekels worth of gold. He was baffled as he thought that he had completely “balanced the books.”

He was helped by a Heavenly voice, known as a “Bat Kol.” This voice was heard by the masses. It reminded Moshe that he forgot to take into account the golden hooks that were used to fasten the curtains together. His problem was solved.

Later in the Torah, when Miriam spoke badly about Moshe, Hashem’s response was, בכל ביתי נאמן הוא, “In all of my house, he has been faithful.” This is seen as an affirmation of how trustworthy Moshe was.

We learn from this episode how important it is for a person in power, to take great care to maintain a reputation of integrity. Because he is in the public eye, he must not arouse any suspicion in his handling of public funds. He must also show integrity in his personal conduct, to show his worthiness of becoming a leader in Israel.

It is no coincidence that the greatest man who ever lived, was also the greatest in honesty, integrity, and humility.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at