Monday, March 16, 2009


20 Adar Second day Yom Shaynee


  • TORAH Exodus 35:1-38:2o

  • PROPHETS 1kINGS 7:40-50

  • B'RIT HADASHAH 2Corinthians 9:1-15, Messianic Jews(Hebrews) 9:1-14, Revelation 11:1-13

Vayakhel (Exodus 35:1-38:20)

We Want Your Input
In this week's Torah portion, Moses spoke to the people regarding their involvement in building the Tabernacle, the precursor to the Holy Temple that stood in Jerusalem. He gathered everyone together, the entire nation, some 3 million strong.

Couldn't he just get the word spread around? Did he have to make such a formal gathering about something that was fairly straightforward? True, the Tabernacle was central to the socio-spiritual context of the travels through the desert. But the building of it was not philosophical or complex. Those with construction skills would put it together, weavers would weave, carpenters would make the wood, etc.

You only need a few hundred laborers actually making things. Other people would be involved in transporting the materials and assessing the inventory. Others would donate materials. But it certainly wasn't a job for everyone. Moses could have merely spoken to those doing the work.
Three times in a short bit of text (Exodus chapter 35, verses 1, 4 and 20), the phrase "the entire congregation" is used. Apparently it was very, very important for the message to go out to the entire people, not just those working on the Tabernacle.

When you break it down into groups, there are actually more groups then you'd expect who were involved. In 35:5 it mentions donation from "everyone whose heart motivates him." Other phrases of "his heart was lifted" and "his spirit was moved" indicate different inner motivations to contributing to the effort. The leaders brought precious stones; women brought jewelry to be melted down. All the materials came from all segments of the nation.
* * *
The main point is that a collective spirit was necessary for the building of the Tabernacle because it was meant to represent the entire people. Sure, all the Israelites could have proxies or agents to carry out the various tasks. And to an extent, they certainly had to do that. In fact, the actual service that is rendered in the Tabernacle on a daily basis was done only by the kohanim (priests). The kohanim are not a privileged first class; they are in fact the servants of the people to carry out the intentions of the nation.
The work of construction had to be done by only a few craftsmen. But the spirit and the intention of each and every Jew was an important contributor to the common cause. Even when it is possible for service of God to be carried out by others, it's important that we all contribute to a cause.
* * *
Whenever a group of people get together to tackle an important cause, it's important that you make your own contribution, no matter how small. Not necessarily for the work to get done, but rather for the sake of you having contributed. It concretizes your convictions and strengthens your values. The cause becomes a part of you, and you become a part of the cause. Even if they have enough people to lick the stamps and stuff envelopes, it's good for you to lick a few stamps.
You can then sleep well, knowing that you've left your mark on something you believe in.
* * *
Spiritual Exercise:
Send one dollar to 10 charities that you believe in. (Make sure it's anonymous so they don't waste a dollar sending a thank you letter and tax receipt.) The recipient may snicker, but you've changed yourself for good.

What we are talking about here is the giving of ourselves and our possessions for the greater good. In Exodus 35 we read that Moses came to the people and asked that they give from their hearts and to give of themselves to do what was needed. God had provided the skilled artesians...he had given them their gifts and now they could use their gifts in obediece to God. He had provided the people with all their treasures...even though most had come from the Egyptians....but it was all God's anyway. Whether we see it or not, things just don't 'happen'. Our God always has a plan.

In 1 Corinthians, chapter 8...Sha'ul(Paul), the Emissary of Yeshua told the Corinthians how generous the Macedonians were.....that, although they were poor, they gave with such joy, not only according to their means but beyond.
God gives us what we need because of who we are in His Son but to prosper we must give above and beyond what is expected. He who plants sparingly also harvests sparingly. We must give from our hearts, not grudgingly or under compulsion. God has the power to provide us with every gracious gift in abundance, so that we will have all we need and be able to provide abundantly for every good cause.
We see those who are taken care of by the LORD....and this is a blessing. All their needs are met, and when a problem arises they know they can go to the LORD and He will provide. These are those who have given from their hearts and have done so willingly and God has blessed them by meeting their needs but He will also bless with an abundance if we go beyond what is expected. He loves a cheerful giver(Prov.3:4) and He will make us even more cheerful by providing for our needs and giving generously beyond that. We cannot out give God!

It is the evil that kills the wicked (Psalms 34:22).
It is taught that God gives vitality, a life-sustaining force, only to the good and positive in the world. Evil can exist only because it derives its "nutrition" from that which is good and positive, just as a parasite derives its nutrition from the host. Evil could not continue to exist unless it somehow attached itself to the good, but while it is the nature of good to give of itself, the parasitic evil only takes and thus drains the good of its strength.

Parasites ultimately destroy themselves. Because a parasite can only exist by feeding on its host, and since it thereby weakens the host, it is essentially working toward its own destruction. If it never lets go, it will kill the host, its source of sustenance, and it too will die.

Fear of punishment need not be our only deterrent from doing wrong. Just as the parasite that sucks the lifeblood from its host can temporarily thrive, so may wrongdoing appear to be profitable for a short term. Ultimately, however, evil destroys itself.

Looking only at the short-term consequences and ignoring the inevitable is a common mistake. The Talmud states that truly wise people look to the future and give serious thought to the ultimate consequences of their behavior, rather than focusing upon the momentary gratification.

Today I shall ...... think responsibly about what I do. I shall not let the enticement of immediate gratification blind me to the long-term consequences of my behavior.

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