"All who are skilled among you are to come and make everything the LORD has commanded . . . " - Exodus 35:10
The Torah portion for this week is a double reading, Vayakhel-Pekudei, from Exodus 35:1-40:38. Vayakhel means "assembled," and Pekudei means "counting." The Haftorah is from 1 Kings 7:51-8:21.
When I was a teenager, two friends of mine, brothers, decided to build a small porch for their parents' anniversary. One brother was very intellectual. His approach was to measure everything carefully, research as much as possible, and then take measurements again just to be sure that he got things right. The other brother wasn't such a great student, but he was a natural when it came to building things.
When the two got to work, each brother began in his own way. However, the first brother never got to lay a single brick. The second brother got to work right away and had completed the entire project in time for the parents' anniversary - before his brother had even finished all his research.
There is a time for research, and there's a time for discussion. But sometimes, it's simply time to take action before it's too late.
In this week's Torah portion, we read about the actual construction of the Tabernacle. We read, "All who are skilled among you are to come and make everything the LORD has commanded." Now, Scripture could have easily left out the words "come and . . ." and simply said, "All who are skilled . . . make everything the LORD has commanded." The Jewish sages explain that the Bible wants to teach us that when we are inspired to fulfill the Word of God, we should go and do it as soon as possible. As the Scriptures said, "come and . . ." do it!
The sages caution us not to spend too much time caught up in discussion, but to set our resolve into action quickly. As one rabbi put it, "The greatest wisdom is not to be too wise, but to obey the command of the LORD without too much speculation."
This is why, when several weeks ago, four Jews were murdered by terrorists in Paris at a kosher supermarket, The Fellowship immediately sprang into action. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke in the Grand Synagogue of Paris just days after the massacre and told the Jews of France to come home to Israel. The Fellowship, well aware of the dangers facing the Jews of France, had already been planning what -God-willing - will be our first Freedom Flight from France. Just as we have brought Jews from Ukraine safely home to Israel, we will continue to act to fulfill God's will by bringing Jews in danger in any country back to their rightful, spiritual homeland.
The Talmud teaches, "When an opportunity to perform God's Word comes to you, don't let it sour." In other words, if we wait too long to do the will of God, we may lose our chance altogether. What opportunities to fulfill God's will are available to you today? Seize them now!
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President