Friday, February 28, 2020

The first Jewish fundraising campaign is found in this week's Parsha. The Israelites are told to bring forward raw materials for the construction of the Mishkan/Tabernacle. With the conveniences of a Super Walmart or Home Depot not available where did they procure all the materials for the building of the Mishkan? The precious metals such as gold, silver, and copper were part of the spoils that came from their time in Egypt. They were quite resourceful in securing all the rest of the materials that included the fine fabrics. There was one notable exception to this. The Atzei Shittim/Acacia Wood came from Israel. Rashi elaborates with the details. A couple of centuries prior to this event, when Yaakov was relocating to Egypt from Israel, he made it his business for this wood to be transported to Egypt for the eventual construction of the Mishkan. It seems to be quite a lesson in advance planning. Why was it necessary for Yaakov to shlep all this wood down to Egypt for an event two hundred years into the future? Were there other materials that were perhaps also worthy of such attention? 



The Atzei Shittim/Acacia wood was primarily used for the construction of the beams. This functioned quite literally as the foundation of the Mishkan/Tabernacle. Yaakov was teaching us a profound lesson. In regards to most things, one can be creative and under the appropriate circumstances, even compromise on certain things. However, in regards to the foundation, it must always emanate from a pure source, and one cannot compromise on a foundational issue. The Mishkan was the structure in which the Israelites come to connect as people to connect with G-d, and that is why our ancestors took great pains to bring the wood for this purpose. Our rabbis have taught that each individual is a Mishkan in the sense that there is a divine spark within everyone. That is our foundation of who are as people. Let us treat it with the honor and respect a holy foundation deserves. 



Rabbi Yaakov Fisch

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