With Rabbi Moshe Mayerfeld.
THE FORMER British Prime Minister Winston Churchill once said: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
Raising capital for communal endeavours dates back to biblical times. Moshe was the ultimate fundraiser. He was successful, humble, focused on the cause and transparent.
In this week’s portion, Hashem instructs Moshe to collect the resources needed to build a traveling Temple- the Mishkan. “Speak to the children of Israel, that they take for Me a portion”. Gold, silver, copper, wood, oils. Only then does the verse say: “Let them make Me a sanctuary, so I may dwell among them”.
This seems to be a non sequitur. First we should hear the vision, the dream, and then tell us what we need to make it happen. Usually when we hear an appeal, first we are told of the cause, the institution, the charity and then we are asked for the finances or the assistance.
Here, God is demonstrating a very important lesson to us.
We are taught that everything we have is a gift from God. In a certain sense it is on loan. If you have something that belongs to your neighbour, they don’t need to explain that their garden is overgrown, they can just ask for their lawnmower back.
The Jewish people were being educated to appreciate their belongings and in so doing develop a recognition of where it comes from. Granted that this is a highly spiritual sense of awareness, however it is understandable that this would be necessary to build a “home” for the Almighty.
This same lesson holds true for our mental faculties and talents. These, too, were endowed by God for a higher purpose. Later in the text we are told that we should “See” that Hashem has called upon Bezalel to be the chief architect of the building of the Mishkan.
Our rabbis point out that the “See” is an extra word in the verse intended to teach us that the mere fact that Bezalel was gifted with architectural talents is enough of a reason to know that he will be involved in its building; for why else would this skill be given other than to make this world a better, moral and godly place?
Our money and resources are on loan to us and it is our responsibility to use them to create of world of goodness, kindness and morality.
• Rabbi Moshe Mayerfeld is director of Aish UK. Follow him on Twitter @mmayerfeld.