A Torah Thought for Parashat Vayakhel
By Moshe FeiglinOne day when I was in grade school, a rabbi came to my classroom with an impressive photo album. The album contained beautiful pictures of the reproductions of the Temple vessels and the priestly garments. The Temple Institute had not yet been established, Yamit was still a vibrant town in the Sinai and Rabbi Ariel was its Chief Rabbi. But that was the first time that I had ever encountered a modern reproduction of the Table, the Altar, the Menorah and the other vessels and priestly garments.
I remember the excitement in the classroom. The Rabbi did not allow the students to pass the album from one to the other so that it would not become worn out. Instead, he held it in his own hands and showed it to each student. The same sense of awe and excitement still fills me every time I read the Torah description of the Tabernacle and its vessels.
When the Jews would ascend to the Holy Temple on the three annual festivals of pilgrimage, the priests would exhibit the Temple vessels for all to see. If a photo of a reproduction can elicit such excitement, I can only begin to imagine what an impression the genuine articles made on the celebrating Jews. (The photo illustrating this article is just one of many that you can view at the Temple Institute website, which we wholeheartedly endorse!)
That’s how the Jewish people are. They get involved with all their hearts. When, in last week’s Torah portion, they were asked to give to the Golden Calf, they (tragically) gave. And when they were asked to give to the Tabernacle, they gave wholeheartedly. It’s the genetics of bringing the world a new message. Jews are always the first in whatever revolution takes the world’s fancy; Communism, liberalism, you name it. From the socialist kibbutz movement to unrestrained capitalism – we are always at the forefront.
Ultimately, we will stop our flight from our genuine identity, build the Holy Temple and bring the world the message that truly is embedded in our DNA: The perfection of the world in the Kingdom of Heaven.