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6 Adar II 5784 - March 16, 2024

Parshat Pekudei

Rabbi's Reflections

-Account for Everything: Integrity is Key-

In Parshat Pekudei, Moshe takes a detailed inventory of all of the vessels and materials needed for the construction of the Mishkan, the Tabernacle. Many mefarshim (Torah commentators) want to know why Moshe needed to give a full and open accounting of every ounce of gold, silver and copper, every thread of fine linen and wool?  After all, hasn’t the last third of Sefer Shemot already enumerated these details? 

To help answer this question, we should turn to the words of the Midrash Tanchuma, which teaches us, “The Holy One, blessed be He, trusted [Moshe]…so why did Moshe need to make an accounting? [It is] because [Moshe] heard the scoffers of that generation gossiping about him… And what did they say? ‘[Moshe] is appointed over the work of the Mishkan, over talents of silver and talents of gold, which cannot be fathomed, weighed or counted…should he not become wealthy?’ When Moshe heard [that the people suspected him of taking some of the precious resources for his own wealth] he said, ‘[I swear] by your lives! When the work of the Mishkan has been completed, I will give you a reckoning!’ Once it was finished, [Moshe] said to [the people], ‘These are the accounts of the Mishkan” (Midrash Tanchuma, Pekudei 7). 

Moshe recognized that as a leader of the Jewish people he was held to a very high standard, as the people he was called to serve scrutinized his every action. Although Moshe did not appreciate the gossip spread about him behind his back, he understood that he had to be transparent with how he used the people’s resources, and that he had to demonstrate his accountability by recording each and every single item used for the Mishkan. When it came to maintaining his reputation and integrity, Moshe had to prove to the people that he was beyond reproach, using the people’s wealth not for his own sake, but for the greater glory of God.

This Shabbat, let us reflect on the idea that our integrity and our reputations may be hard to maintain but very easy to lose. Just as Moshe gave a full accounting when his work was done, we too must give an accounting when we complete those tasks which can make or break our reputations in our personal and professional lives. May we never lose sight of the importance and the fragility of our own integrity, and may we, like Moshe, always be ready to give an accounting of our deeds, so that we, like Moshe, can be leaders in our homes and community with uprightness, openness, transparency, and above all, integrity. 

Shabbat Shalom!

-Rabbi Dan

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Effective with all kiddushes booked after the beginning of Passover (April 22nd), the new prices will be: 

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