This week’s Parsha contains a seemingly quite contradictory statement. “And the materials they had were sufficient for all the work to make it, with some left over” (36:7). Why does the Pasuk first start out saying that there was a “sufficient” amount of materials, apparently indicating that they had just enough, but conclude by saying that there was a surplus of materials that was “left over?” Why the contradiction in the Pasuk?
Rav Meir Shapiro provides an ingenious solution to this contradiction. Rav Shapiro states that when Bnei Yisrael contributed to the building of the Mishkan, although everyone tried to give as much as they could, some waited until too late to give what they intended to donate. By the time they were ready, the collectors had already gathered enough for the Mishkan and had announced to stop bringing materials. One can imagine the extreme disappointment that these Jews must have been felt upon not being able to carry through their intentions and actually donate to the Mishkan. This, says Rav Shapiro, is what the Pasuk means when it says “sufficient” – they physically had enough materials for the building of the Mishkan. By “left over,” the Torah refers to all the potential donors’ intentions, which they were unfortunately unable to carry out into action.
Many times throughout our lives we commit ourselves to accomplishing something, but due to procrastination our intentions are never carried out. While it is very easy for one to make the common exclamation, “I’ll do it tomorrow,” we must overcome this tempting attitude and realize that the time is now, and that while it is very noble to intend to do great things, it is even more important to actually go through with them. Let us learn from the mistakes of our ancestors and advance towards our goals today.