Vayakhel Pekudei – One from many

We know God is One, when Klal Yisrael made and worshipped the Eigel they had this idea that there was more than one. That this golden calf is able to affect the world. It is this distortion of Gods oneness that created such a great divide in Klal Yisrael following the Eigel. Connecting to God is connecting to the source of everything in our universe, connecting to a world of clarity and unity. Yet to connect to something that is fictitious is taking leave of unity and clarity for discord and separation. Although Hashem already forgave us through the pleas of Moshe it was still necessary to unite the divided nation of Israel. How was Moshe to do this? By building the Mishkan.

The Mishkan was all about taking many different objects, of different color, different shapes, sizes and materials and unifying them into a structure in which we can serve God. Unity is certainly one of the most important attitudes we can have; through being united we can feel each other’s pain and overcome challenges together. There is a story of a famous horseback rider who was riding his prized steed in the forests of Poland when a heavy snowstorm took him by surprise. His horse was having a lot of difficulty walking through the snow so this famous equestrian ended up spending the night by a forest home he found through the blinding snow belonging to some hospitable Chasid living there. As he was preparing to go to bed he looked out the window to see an old Jewish man driving a wagon lead by two horses traveling the road with ease. The rider was shocked, how could his purebred, mutter horse be unable to get through the snow yet this Jew’s old horses were making their way just fine. He had to know. The horse rider ran outside into the snow and asked the Jewish wagon driver how it was possible, he replied, “I’ve had these horses since they were born. They grew up together and are inseparable. Because of this they feel each other’s pain, when I whip one horse, the other horse feels the pain of his friend and therefore pushes harder as well. It’s the effort of both horses working together that allows them to weather any storm…” So the work of Klal Yisrael in building the Mishkan was the wagon that drew everything back to the source, back to God. Out of the many odds and ends we were able to make a majestic structure that allowed us to serve God. Moshe gained atonement for us on Yom Kippur and the next day he gathered Klal Yisrael together (Rashi on 35:1), by doing so we actualized the building of the Mishkan, combining all those donated pieces, all those separate parts into one unified structure – completely removing the stain of the Eigel from our souls. This shows us the power of unity, that by working together we can overcome the many struggles blocking our path, and very soon, with unity, we will be able to see built the Beis Hamikdash in Jerusalem, bmheira byameinu.

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