Accessing the Inner Tabernacle | Parshat Pekudei
Reuven Dovid Bryant discussed this week’s Torah Portion of Pekudei about how Moshe gives an account of the precious metals that when into the holy furniture of the Tabernacle. There is a connection to the Tabernacle and the each human. Discover the connection.
Reading Exodus 38:21, “These are the accounts of the Tabernacle,” Rabbi Tanhuma cited Proverbs 28:20, “A faithful man shall abound with blessings; but he that makes haste to be rich shall not be unpunished.” Rabbi Tanhuma taught that God always brings blessings through a person of integrity, but one who is not faithful and “makes haste to be rich shall not be unpunished.” The Midrash taught that “a faithful man” refers to Moses, who was God’s confidant, as Numbers 12:7 reports, “My servant Moses . . . is trusted in all My house.” Thus Solomon said in Proverbs 28:20, “A faithful man shall abound with blessings,” because God blessed everything that Moses oversaw, on account of his trustworthiness. Another explanation of “A faithful man” is that it refers to Moses, who was made treasurer over the work of the Tabernacle. But our Rabbis taught (in Mishnah Shekalim 5:2), “One must not appoint fewer than two people to control the finances of a city or community,” and the Midrash asked whether Moses was not solely in charge. The Midrash answered that although Moses was the sole treasurer, he called others to audit the accounts. The Midrash noted that Exodus 38:21 says, “These are the accounts of the Tabernacle,” and does not say, “which Moses rendered,” but “which were rendered according to the commandment of Moses.” Thus the accounts were rendered through Moses but, as Exodus 38:21 reports, “by the hand of Ithamar” (implying that Moses showed all the accounts to Ithamar).
Reading Exodus 38:21, “as they were rendered according to the commandment of Moses,” a Midrash taught that the Israelites did everything that they did by the command of Moses. And reading the continuation of Exodus 38:21, “through the service of the Levites, by the hand of Ithamar, the son of Aaron the priest,” the Midrash taught that everything that Moses made was done through others. Even though everything was done with witnesses, as soon as the construction of the Tabernacle was completed, Moses wasted no time to promise the people the complete details of all the expenditures involved. Moses then began to expound in Exodus 38:21, “These are the accounts of the Tabernacle,” saying how much he had expended on the Tabernacle. While engaged in this calculation, Moses completely forgot about 1,775 shekalim of silver that he had used for hooks for the pillars, and he became uneasy thinking to himself that the Israelites would find grounds to say that Moses took them for himself. So God opened the eyes of Moses to realize that the silver had been converted into hooks for the pillars. When the Israelites saw that the account now completely tallied, they were completely satisfied with the integrity of the work on the Tabernacle. And thus Exodus 38:21 says, “These are the accounts of the Tabernacle,” to report that the accounts balanced. The Midrash asked why Moses had to account to the Israelites, seeing as God trusted Moses so implicitly that God said in Numbers 12:7, “My servant Moses is not so; he is trusted in all My house.” The Midrash explained that Moses overheard certain Israelites scoffing behind his back, for Exodus 33:8 says, “And they (the Israelites) looked after Moses.” The Midrash asked what the people would say about Moses. Rabbi Johanan taught that the people blessed his mother, for she never saw him, as he was always speaking with God and always wholly given over to his service. But Rabbi Hama said that they used to remark how fat and prosperous Moses looked. When Moses heard this, he vowed to give an account of everything. And this is why Exodus 38:21 says, “These are the accounts of the Tabernacle.”