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Parashat Vayak’hel-Shekalim


The Torah portion this week begins with Moses assembling the entire community. At this great assembly, he conveyed the commandment for the building of the sanctuary. Our sages explain that the building of the sanctuary was an atonement for the sin of the golden calf, and that the donation of gold for the sanctuary was to offset the gold contributed for the building of the idol.

Although idolatry ranks as the most grievous transgression, we nevertheless find that when our nation is united, our misdeeds are overlooked.

The reason that this unique property of unity and brotherhood is able to offset the most serious of wrongdoings may be because idolatry leads to divisiveness. In fact, the Talmud says that our nation never took idolatry seriously, and knew very well that they were of no substance. The only reason they gravitated towards idolatry was because it allowed them to formulate a religion that would cater to their personal desires. Since peoples’ desires differ greatly, and are often in conflict with one another, true togetherness and idolatry cannot coexist. Therefore, when the nation is united, they are far less likely to condone idolatry.


Moses, therefore, assembled the entire community to encourage togetherness in the work for the sanctuary, because unity is without equal in soliciting the Divine blessing.

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Shaul