“These are the accountings of the Mishkan…” (Ex. 38:21)
In Torah portion Vayakhel/Pekudei, Moses assembles the Children of Israel and conveys God’s instructions for building the Mishkan, the portable tabernacle in the wilderness where the Divine Presence dwells. The people donate generously to fund the required materials, which include precious metals, dyed wool, animal skins, oil, wood, stones, and other materials.
The Torah includes a detailed accounting of how the funds are allocated. For instance, 100 talents of silver donated by community members are for casting sockets (Ex. 38:27) and 1,775 donated shekels are for making hooks (Ex. 38:28.) Rav Moshe Feinstein teaches that this accounting of funds for the Mishkan contains an important message for each of us. Just as it was necessary to ensure that gifts received for the Mishkan were used properly, so too we must ask ourselves whether our own gifts are being used properly.
Rav Moshe explains this personal assessment as a two-step process:
➡️ Acknowledge to yourself the unique gifts, talents and strengths God has given you. There is something special that only you can contribute to the world, and it is your holy responsibility to figure out what that is.
➡️ Continually conduct an honest analyses of whether you are using your gifts most effectively and how you can do better.
May we all make this world a better place by contributing generously of our God-given talents!
Image: Model of the tabernacle in Timna Valley Park, Israel