Because He Said So

Yael Eckstein  |  March 1, 2022

Elderly Jewish man in blue looking directly at the camera.

So all the work on the tabernacle, the tent of meeting, was completed. The Israelites did everything just as the LORD commanded Moses. Exodus 39:32

Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. This week’s Torah portion is Pekudei, which means “counting,” from Exodus 38:21–40:38.

Recently, on an unusually cold day, there I was, being a mom and trying to get my son to wear a warmer coat. “Take a coat,” I said, “it’s cold outside.”

“But I don’t want to wear a coat,” said my son. “I have a hoodie.”

“I know you have a hoodie, but I want you to wear a coat,” I told him, smiling. “So take it because I said so.”

He took the coat, rolled his eyes, and looked at me. “If you insist.”

“I love you,” I said with a smile. “Love you too,” he answered as he turned to leave.

“Because I said so.” As soon as I said it, I heard the voice of my parents when I was growing up echoing in the words that had just escaped my very own lips. I never liked hearing “Because I said so” as a reason for doing anything.

But now that I think about it, there’s a deeper lesson in “Because I said so.” My son eventually took his coat out of respect for me. He didn’t think he needed it. By taking it, though, he showed me that he loves me and wanted to make me happy. Ironically, had he agreed that he needed it, this message wouldn’t have come through.

Because He Said So

I thought about this when I was reading this week’s Torah portion. The children of Israel were commanded by God to make a Tabernacle for Him. The artisans and craftsmen who made everything must have been proud of their work. As a nation that had just been released after centuries of slavery and suffering, the construction of such an extravagant place of worship, with so much gold, silver, and other expensive materials, must have brought them great pride.

At the completion of the Tabernacle, the Bible tells us, “The Israelites did everything just as the LORD commanded Moses” (Exodus 39:32). At first glance, this verse seems superfluous. After a lengthy description of every item that was made, we can see for ourselves that they made everything according to the instructions that God gave them.

But I believe that the Bible here is teaching us about their motivation and mindset as they crafted everything in the Tabernacle. They made everything exactly as God wanted it, because that is what He told them to do. This obedience to God’s instructions was a sign of their love and devotion. Because He said so.

Your Turn:

How can you respect God today by doing something “because He said so?”

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