Building God’s Kingdom
Yael Eckstein | August 18, 2022
Then I came back down the mountain and put the tablets in the ark I had made, as the LORD commanded me, and they are there now. —Deuteronomy 10:5
Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is Eikev, which means “therefore” or “heel,” from Deuteronomy 7:12–11:25.
One of the most beautiful things about The Fellowship is how we are able to do so much good in the world based on the contributions of so many people. I’ll tell you a secret — The Fellowship doesn’t have big donors who give us millions of dollars. The Fellowship raises the funds we need for our sacred work from many thousands of individuals who give modest amounts.
No single one of our many dedicated supporters could possibly fly a planeload of impoverished Jewish refugees from Ukraine to Israel. Or build a wing of a hospital in a depressed area in Israel. The beauty and power of The Fellowship is that by so many people participating, each in their own modest way, we are able to accomplish such great things.
Too many people look at problems in the world that need fixing and do nothing because the problems are so big. Instead, we wait for someone else — someone wealthy and powerful — to step in and solve the problems. We become spectators, rather than participants, in building the God’s kingdom.
Building God’s Kingdom
In retelling the story of the people’s sin with the Golden Calf, the breaking of the tablets, and the fashioning of new ones, Moses recounted how he “put the tablets in the ark I had made.”
This is not how God works, and we see this important lesson in this week’s Torah portion: “Then I came back down the mountain and put the tablets in the ark I had made, as the LORD commanded me, and they are there now.”
The rabbis in the Talmud point out that in Exodus 25:10, we read that the people were commanded to make the ark. Yet here in Deuteronomy, Moses says that he made the ark himself. How do we resolve this contradiction? The rabbis answered: “When they are following the will of Heaven, the people would make the ark. When they are not following the will of heaven, Moses made it himself.”
The rabbis’ point is not to resolve what actually happened historically, but to highlight an important lesson for us. The ark protects God’s Word, the tablets that testify to God’s covenant with His people. While God does send great leaders like Moses to save us in times of crisis, ideally, the job of protecting and fulfilling God’s will, of building His Kingdom, is the job of all of us together.
God wants us to be participants with Him in building His kingdom.