ENOUGH ALREADY! – Vayak’hel – Ex. 35-38:20 – by Rabbi Baruch Cohon

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ENOUGH ALREADY! – Vayak’hel – Ex. 35-38:20 – by Rabbi Baruch Cohon

          Many events chronicled in the Torah are first-time, and will reoccur again and again throughout history.  Battles between tribes, domestic quarrels, slavery, rebellion – they all repeat themselves the world over.  One exception, of course, is the Revelation on Mount Sinai, certainly a singular event in all history.  This week provides another one-timer.  Not to be compared with the Sinai experience, it still can leave us shaking our heads in wonder – and perhaps a little humor too.

          Less than two months passed since the Israelite people received the Torah, and during that time they already violated the law they accepted, by worshipping a Golden Calf.  Now that Moses and his Levite vigilantes whipped the people back in line, they are commanded to devote themselves to building the Tabernacle in the desert.  First of all the Jewish houses of worship, this portable sanctuary had to be constructed with whatever the people could contribute.   Not money, but building materials, from cut wood and hewn stone to turquoise, precious metals and jewels, woven wool and linen.  The tribal princes bring their treasures, and those who have no treasures bring their skills, “craftsmen, weavers and embroiderers.”     

Where did they get it all?  True, we remember that when they left Egypt they were able to take some plunder with them.  But more significant is the question of what made them suddenly so generous.  Did a  powerful sense of guilt move them? In any case, they made and brought whatever they could.  Under the leadership of the master designer Betzalel, they showed up every morning with more contributions.

          Finally we will read that the supervisors of the work came to Moses and told him the people were bringing much more than the job required.   So, at Moses’ order, they passed the word in the camp: “Let no man or woman do any more for the holy Sanctuary!”  And the people stopped bringing.

          Truly a one-time event.  When, in all the centuries since Moses, did a leader have to proclaim Enough already!  Stop giving!?   What a magnificent outpouring that was – and not one donor is named in the Torah.  No plaques in the Tabernacle.

          We moderns have our share of golden calves.  Arguably one of them is personal credit.   Plaques, stained glass windows, ads in the newspaper – all glorify donors.   If your telephone rings less than 10 times a day with appeals, and promises of personal plaudits in return for writing a check – consider yourself lucky.

Perhaps when we are moved to turn the tables and build a sanctified house of the future, the Messiah will tell us to stop giving and just enjoy.

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2 Responses to ENOUGH ALREADY! – Vayak’hel – Ex. 35-38:20 – by Rabbi Baruch Cohon

  1. Gladys Hanfling says:

    Oh, how wonderful it would be if we, at our houses of worship could be told : “Enough
    already!” At our Torah Study this morning at Temple EmanuEl we read all about what the women did during the building of the Tabernacle. Our Torah Leader looked at me and said “you are one who embroidered a Torah Mantel to beautify our Tabernacle. I felt both proud and humble because it had been such a joy for me to make that Mantel. I embroidered it, but our beloved Rabbi Cohon had suggested it.
    Shavuah Tov.

  2. Nisamdeen says:

    Derek .I have not seen many MJ leaders wear tlleifin in public. Would be interesting to learn about THEIR perspective.As far as FFOZ goes and their materials, I have a real problem with them (as I have a problem with the One Law and similar movements as a whole). It’s not a small problem in my opinion. I consider them a pseudo-Jewish organization, not really part of the mainstream JEWISH Messianic movement, led and staffed primarily by Gentiles (nothing wrongs with Gentiles, of course). Personally, I avoid using their materials to teach Jewish believers (although I am sure that they have many good and valid points to share as many other movements and denominations do also). I see them as compelling Gentiles believers to live as Jews (judaizing) under the guise of Torah education, while at the same time seeking to blur or at least de-emphasize the distinctions between Jews and Gentiles. I won’t speak for the G-d of Israel, but I can’t see Him being happy about this (at least if I read NT correctly).Anyway, looking forward to your book review.Shalom

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