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Rabbi Ari Enkin

By Rabbi Ari Enkin, Rabbinic Director, United with Israel

Just as there were many different jobs to do when building the original Tabernacle, so, too, in our lives many roles must be fulfilled to make it work.

This week’s Torah portion is Vayakhel (Exodus 35:1-38:20), and in it we continue to read about the construction of the Tabernacle. Have you ever wondered exactly who was involved in the building of the Tabernacle?

Let’s take a look: “Every man whose heart inspired him came and everyone whose spirit motivated him brought the portion of God for the work of the Tabernacle, for all its service and for the holy clothing.” [Ex. 35:21]

We must keep in mind that the Tabernacle, and the Holy Temple in Jerusalem after it, were very elaborate and magnificent edifices. When Moses made the announcement inviting “every man” to come and take part in its construction, he was putting his reputation and the quality of the Tabernacle on the line. The Jewish people certainly had an “impressive” background in the art of slavery and victimization, but not in architecture and design! These people had no idea how to design anything. But somehow, miraculously, everything worked out. People’s hidden talents were ignited, and the rest is history.

This is the meaning of “whose heart inspired him.” The people seemingly had no skills, and certainly no training (the University of Cairo was off limits to Jews!) …but they did have inspiration and a desire to see the job through. Ambition and drive is sometimes worth more than skill and formal training.

We see from here that the one who will be successful is not necessarily the one with the highest degrees. More important is the greatest initiative and drive to get the job done. Indeed, some of the richest people in the world had little formal post-high school education. No degrees. No diplomas. They simply had tremendous drive and perseverance. The people who are committed to their goals and don’t fear the occasional setback are the ones who succeed.

When Moses asked for volunteers to build the Tabernacle, the people came forward with nothing other than a commitment to the project and a desire to help. Our entire life is one of building our own personal “Tabernacle.” Just as there were many different jobs to do when building the original Tabernacle – weaving, hammering, soldering, melting, fashioning and the like – so, too, in our lives there are many different roles that must come together to make it work. None of us was trained for all the jobs and challenges that come our way. But with perseverance and determination to make our lives into one magnificent tabernacle, we, too, will succeed!

For more insights on this week’s Torah portion by Rabbi Ari Enkin, click on the links below.







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