Appointments and Responsibilities by Rabbi Herschel Solnica

2001/5761

The Sedra of Pekudei gives a detailed accounting of the raw material and cost of the משכן העדות, the Holy Tabernacle.  The Or Hachaim gives a sharp insight into the deeper meaning of this Sedra.  He sums it up into 5 מנינים, basic appointments and responsibilities.  This is the meaning of the word פקודים.

1)  As long as Bnai Yisrael study and keep the Torah, the Mishkan will stand.

2)  Moshe is charged with the task of teaching the laws that apply to every segment of the Mishkan.

3)  The Leviim are to study and be proficient in the maintenance of the Mishkan.

4)  Aharon and his sons have the sacred duty and responsibility of being ready, able, and willing to perform the service of the Mishkan.

5)  בצלאל and אהליאב must be ready to design and build all the בגדי כהנה properly.

This is not simply a Sedra for accounting and listing money and raw materials, but one that calls for חשבון הנפש, introspection, asking ourselves if we are doing our job properly.

I once asked a student if he could pass a subject in school without studying.  The answer, of course, was no.  Can we expect moral and decent Jews in the next generation if our language is filled with colloquial, unprintable words?  Can we expect a better product from our children when adults, parents, and educators fail the resolve to be true role models?  Can we expect true Torah children when our children are allowed to meander, hang out, and be at risk?  Can we give permission to our progeny to stay out late and not be accounted for and then expect them to be fine young people?  Can we expect our young ones to be better than ourselves if we use abusive language or curse words, if we drink, smoke, or are abusive to members of our family? 

Parents, administrators, teachers, and students must all resolve that each of us have moral and civil responsibilities.  Moshe, Aaron, Betzalel, you, and I cannot ignore our jobs.  Doing our jobs is and must be the answer to cursing, drug use, lack of proper Tefillah, and dress unfit for work at any respectable business establishment, let alone for learning Torah.

This is the Sedra of חזק.  Let us give ourselves חיזוק first and then we can make ourselves appropriate role models for our children, students, and all of humanity.

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