Have Questions or Comments?
Leave us some feedback and we'll reply back!

    Your Name (required)

    Your Email (required)

    Phone Number)

    In Reference to

    Your Message


    The Long Journey
    The drama was
    almost complete. The
    people exiled in a
    foreign country for
    more than two
    centuries, and for much
    of that time in unbearable conditions,
    experienced a miraculous liberation through
    direct and manifested intervention by the
    Creator. At Har Sinai, G-d and Bnei
    Yisrael enter into a mutual covenant to
    become partners in “tikkun olam:” repairing
    a world estranged from its essence. Never
    again in history would G-d completely part
    the veils that conceal Him, communicating
    His presence to an entire nation. Forty days
    later, in a moment of collective insanity, the
    people deny G-d. They substitute the moral
    sovereign of the universe with a golden calf.
    G-d now views His attempt to mold a people
    into a “kingdom of princes and a sacred
    nation” as a colossal failure. He sees no value
    anymore in the Jewish experience. Moshe
    stands up to G-d, eliciting from Him a deeper
    chord in His relationship with Bnei Yisrael.
    G-d re-embraces the people and instructs
    them to build a home in their midst for His

    elusive presence. In this sanctuary, the all-
    pervading truth of G-d would be more

    manifest and accessible. The Jewish people
    en mass present to Moshe large amounts of
    gold, silver, copper and many other materials
    required for the construction of an exquisite
    Mishkan. Moshe appoints brilliant architects,
    sculptors, and designers to build the home,
    design the vessels, carve out the furniture and
    craft the items that would make up the new
    Divine home. At the opening of
    Parshas Pekudei, the work is complete. Soon,
    the sanctuary would be built and the Divine
    presence would reside therein. This is a
    charged moment, a dramatic peak in a long
    and turbulent journey of a people. After all of
    the ups and downs, G-d is about to “move in”
    with the Jewish people. The hero of the story
    is, no doubt, Moshe. With courageous
    selflessness, he triumphed, over G-d, as it
    were. He is the man responsible for bringing
    the people—and G-d—t this extraordinary
    moment, when humanity would reintroduce
    G-d to a world that banished Him.
    Time for Bookkeeping
    But wait. Right at this moment, the Torah
    interrupts the narrative, shifting the story
    from creating a space for G-d in this world, to
    the realm of bookkeeping. Moshe, at this
    point, presents a detailed account of all the

    wealth contributed to him for the construction
    of the Mishkan. He reports to the people how
    many pounds of gold, silver, and copper he
    received, and how exactly it was used in the
    structure. He gives an account for every last
    piece of jewelry and metal that came into his
    hands. Why? The Midrash relates that some
    Jews murmured about Moshe stealing some
    of the money, using charity funds for his own
    purposes. Thus, Moshe gave a detailed
    account of the destination of every “dollar”
    collected in the grandiose “building
    campaign.” This is a simple but very telling
    scene. Moshe, let us recall, is the spiritual
    giant of history, whom the Rambam defined
    as the greatest human being to ever walk the
    earth. “G-d would speak to Moshe face to
    face, as a man would speak with his friend,”
    the Torah says. “Not so my servant Moshe,”
    G-d thunders on Aaron and Miriam after they
    had gossiped about him. “In My entire house
    he is the trusted one. Mouth to mouth do I
    speak to him, in a clear vision and not in
    riddles; he gazes at the image of G-d. Why do
    you not fear to speak against My servant,
    Moshe?” Does a man who speaks to G-d face
    to face really need to prove that he is not
    using money for a cruise in the Caribbean, for
    a new BMW or to build his portfolio? The
    Jews, observing Moshe’s unparalleled
    devotion and love to them in the most
    trying of circumstances, knew full well
    that Moshe was no charlatan. If G-d trusts
    him, they could trust him too. Even if
    some Jewish rabble-rousers murmured
    about Moshe stealing some of the money,
    we would expect Moshe to ignore
    them. “Who do they think they are to
    question my integrity,” we would expect
    Moshe to think to himself. “I gave my life
    for these rebels, when G-d wanted to
    destroy them. After all, it was G-d Himself
    who appointed me to my present position,
    against my will. How dare they challenge
    my honesty?” These feelings would be
    understandable. Yet, astonishingly,
    without even being asked or instructed to
    do so, Moshe, in total humility, stands up
    and gives an accounting for every last
    penny that came into his hands. One of the
    great Halachik authorities, Rabbi
    Joel Sirkish (1561-1640), known as the
    “Bach,” derives a law from this episode:
    Even the most beloved and believable
    collectors of charity are obliged to give a
    detailed account to the community of the
    destination of every cent they collected for
    charity. Nobody, writes the Bach, could be
    trusted more than Moshe, the man whom
    G-d Himself trusted. Yet even he felt
    compelled to give an accounting of all the
    contributions. An interesting historical
    note: The Bach was extremely wealthy.
    He was the Rabbi of Cracow and he lent
    the community enormous sums of money.
    He fed and supported many of his students,
    distributing enormous sums for

    charity. This is one of the great moral
    messages of Judaism: When it comes to
    somebody else’s money, be accountable for
    every dollar. Don’t cover up, don’t lie, and
    don’t deceive. You can’t lie to people and
    then be honest with G-d, with your wife, with
    your children, with your friends. We all need
    and thus appreciate money. Some of us love
    money. Even spiritual leaders need money
    and often cherish it deeply. Rabbis are also
    only human beings. That is not evil. The story
    turns ugly when we become dishonest
    with our money. We must learn from
    Moshe: to always be able to give an
    account for every dollar that came into our
    Respecting Another Person
    There is yet something deeper. Moshe truly
    believes in the dignity of the people and in
    their right to know what has transpired with
    their contributions. Moshe does not allow his
    spiritual greatness and extraordinary authority
    to implant in his psyche a sense of superiority
    over the masses, in which it is beyond his ego
    to give them a detailed account of his

    spending. On the contrary, he views his G-d-
    given power as a means to confer dignity and

    greatness upon all of the people. Mosheset an
    example for all the generations to come. The
    great Jewish leaders always understood that
    what qualified them as leaders and teachers
    and what bestowed upon them the rights to
    power was not their charisma, brilliance,
    skills, or even the fact that the Almighty
    Himself appointed them to their position. It
    was, rather, the fact that deep down in their
    hearts they really viewed their “subjects” as
    equals. They possessed a sincere belief that
    dignity was the property of all. Insecure
    leaders must resort to fear and tyranny in
    order to ensure loyalty and secure their
    position. They must speak in the name of
    authority rather than in the name of integrity.
    They must remain aloof and superior and
    never allow the simple folk too much access
    to the truth. Vulnerability is too dangerous. At
    best, they create followers. Genuine leaders,
    on the other hand, gain the trust, appreciation,
    and affection of their people, because of their
    trust in the people and their unyielding faith
    in the majesty of every individual human
    being molded in the image of the Divine.
    They create leaders. This is true about all of
    our relationships in life. If you wish to inspire
    genuine loyalty, in a marriage, in the
    workplace, in friendships, you must learn to
    genuinely accept the other person as an equal,
    conferring upon him or her the dignity you
    hold dear for yourself.