Stop and Think by Rabbi Avi Pollak


In this week’s Parsha, Moshe Rabbeinu asks the Jews to bring their donations to the Mishkan.  The response from Klal Yisrael was overwhelming.  Men and women brought everything needed, from gold and silver to wool and dyes.  The donations actually continued until the foremen of the Mishkan approached Moshe and informed him that they could no longer handle to influx of materials and that they needed no more.  As a result, the message was spread around the nation that they should stop bringing donations.

This narrative seems unusual. If the Torah wanted to describe the Jews’ generosity and excitement, it could have simply stated that they donated more than was needed, or that the Jews donated with great energy and enthusiasm. Why do we need to know the comments of the foremen to Moshe and Moshe’s demand that the Jews to stop donating?

For the most part, Chazal and the Meforshim interpret the overabundance of donation in a positive light.  But some Baalei Musar answer our question by suggesting that the Jews were carried away in their momentum and excitement and lost focus of their goal.  By donating so excessively, they gave the impression that they were not as concerned with the needs of the Mishkan as they were with their own feelings of satisfaction and accomplishment.  At that point, the foremen came to Moshe and demanded that he stop them from donating, “Marbim Haam Lihavee,” the Jews are bringing too much.

In all that we do – in our mundane activities and even in our performance of Mitzvot, we must make a special effort to remember that we aim to please Hashem and not get carried away in the momentum of our efforts.

This may explain why the building of the Mishkan did not take precedence over observing the Shabbat. (see Rashi at the beginning of this week’s Parsha 35:2)  To build a sanctuary where Hashem’s Shechina resides is a supremely important and holy task.  But even as we engage in the holiest of work, we need to stop every so often and remind ourselves that Hashem created the world, He rules the world, and that we bow in humility to Him. 

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