In Last week's parsha, Vayakhel, Moshe Rabbeinu emphasized both the holiness of Shabbat and his appeal for funds and donations toward the building of the Mishkan. The Mishkan serves to rectify the previous misuse of gathering together ? the Cheit HaEigel.

And so the segue to parshas Pekudei where Moshe provides a full and complete accounting for all funds and donations directed toward the construction of the Mishkan and its contents in Hashem's prescribed order.

It's interesting that with the donations toward the Eigel Zahav (Golden Calf), which were thrown into the fire to emerge as the Eigel, those involved in donating apparently were too enthusiastic to demand an accounting. However, with the construction of the Mishkan and its contents, Moshe Rabbeinu seemingly felt "...prompted to show one and all that every single coin and article contributed was indeed used for the Mishkan.... Our Sages comment that there were apparently some who suspected that Moshe might have kept some of their Mishkan donations for his own use....? (Lil'mod U'Lilamed, pgs. 97-98) ?They wanted to make sure that they did not donate an unnecessary cent.? (Shemos Rabbah, Parsha Pekudei)

We find that as Medinat Yisrael (the State of Israel) fights a war against her Arab sworn enemies, who crave Jewish blood, she is also faced with impending economic catastrophe, as evidenced by the budget deficits in January and February, 2003 alone ? some 5.5 billion NIS. The economic malaise and huge budget deficits have been brought on not so much by two and a half years of war, as by the rampant corruption, ?payola?, graft and legalized embezzlement (via payroll) up and down throughout the public sectors, from local governments and their homulot (patronage jobs) through to the national government. Oh, that the local and national politicos should be held to the same stringent standards as Moshe Rabbeinu imposed upon himself.

Hopefully, Finance Minister Netanyahu and Interior Minister Poraz will finally be able to sort out and reform Israel's economy from top to bottom by eliminating a sizeable chunk of Governmental lawlessness and "Wild, Wild West" which tears away at Jewish Unity and trickles down, via tax bite, to Yosef Q. Israeli and the derech (way) of honesty, or lack thereof, toward his fellow Jew. Perhaps, after reforming the economy, developing the necessary local government, legislative and ministerial oversight controls and prosecution of offenders, an era of Derech Yehudi will follow.

May we not need the impetus of enemies of B'nai Yisrael uniting against us in the weeks and months to come in order for us to feel that sense of Vayakhel, that unity, respect, care, sensitivity and love for each other that Hashem so badly wants us to experience.

We must strive to perfect our observance of Shabbat, as well as doing other mitzvot - Gemilut Chasadim, Tzedakah - having Ahavat Chinom for our fellow Jews on all levels, personal, business, learning, etc. If we will all intensify our path of plain old honesty ? treating others as we would want to be treated ourselves and beautify our mitzvot, then we'll be zocha to have our tefillah reach Shemayim, unimpeded, ungarbled. As Rabbi Moshe Ungar would say each Thursday evening at his Gemara shiur back in Phildelphia, in "the old country", that then we'll be zocha to demand, compel, Hashem to do ?what he wants to do, to bring us the Moshiach and the Ge'ula Shlaima, bim hayra v'yameinu (speedily, in our time),? like achshav ? immediately ? like chik chak!


Moshe Burt is an Oleh Chadash, a commentator on news and events in Israel, and Founder and Administrator of the Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.


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