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The Crown of Halacha

Pekudei 5776 – An Accounting

An Accounting

These are the numbers of the Mishkan, the Mishkan of the Testimony, which were counted at Moshe’s command…. (38:21)

Rashi: These are the numbers: In this parsha, all the weights of the donations for the Mishkan were counted and recorded– those of silver, of gold, and of copper. And all the implements for all its work were also counted.

According to the Midrash, Moshe Rabbeinu himself counted and recorded every contribution for the building of the Mishkan as well as how each contribution was used. Since Hashem says of Moshe Rabbeinu, “Of all My house he is trustworthy” we know that the accounting wasn’t to prevent Moshe from stealing. Furthermore, Moshe Rabbeinu was held in the highest esteem in the eyes of Am Yisrael.  So the accounting wasn’t for them. Who was Moshe doing this for?

He was making an accounting for the scoffers. Since Moshe’s wealth became apparent only as the Mishkan was being built, the scoffers assumed that Moshe was helping himself to some of the contributions.Everyone else had leftMitzrayim with the riches they got from the Mitzrim, however, Moshe left Miztrayim with nothing, he had been preoccupied searching for the bones of Yosef Hatzadik. Later, after the Mitzrim drowned at Yam Suf, Bnai Yisrael gathered the wealth that floated to the shore but Moshe did not have time to collect even a nugget, he was too busy leading. So it wasn’t clear how Moshe had acquired his wealth. No one knew that Hashem had allowed Moshe to keep the chips of stone from the luchos that he had engraved for Am Yisrael after the sin of the golden calf. Moshe knew that there were scoffers maligning him, therefore, he gave an exact accounting.

There are two points we can learn from Moshe’s actions.The first is that scoffers have a unique strength, they can influence people to suspect and criticize even the best of people and this is why the accounting was made public. Rather than defending himself verbally, he confronted the scoffers with transparency which is the best way to quell a personal attack.

The second point is to affix firmly in our hearts that if we are working for the tzibbur we will not lose. Hashem gave Moshe immeasurable wealth in return for complete dedication and we should trust that if our efforts are l’shem shamyim, we will be rewarded as well.


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