We All Have an Equal Role
Yael Eckstein | February 28, 2022
The 100 talents of silver were used to cast the bases for the sanctuary and for the curtain—100 bases from the 100 talents, one talent for each base. They used the 1,775 shekels to make the hooks for the posts, to overlay the tops of the posts, and to make their bands. — Exodus 38:27-28
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.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about the half shekel that all the Jews gave for the construction of the Tabernacle. As you may recall, the half shekel represented all of Israel working together. Everyone participated equally, rich or poor, in building the house of God. But the half shekel was not collected from every Jew only for the building of the Tabernacle in the desert.
When the Temple stood in Jerusalem, they collected the silver half shekel every year. In fact, in 2009 during excavations of the City of David, archaeologists found a silver half shekel coin on the ancient path leading up to the Temple. On one side, the words “Holy Jerusalem” appear. On the other side, “Half Shekel.”
Just imagine, this Jewish man was on his way to the Temple, ready to give his annual half shekel and he dropped it! And now we found it 2,000 years later!
The half shekel was used every year to pay for the daily offerings that were brought on behalf of the entire nation. This way, every single Jewish family shared equally in these offerings.
We All Have an Equal Role
But as we see in this week’s Torah portion, the original half shekels collected by Moses were used in the construction of the Tabernacle for a very specific purpose.
The Bible tells us that the total of all the silver half shekels added up to 100 silver talents and an additional 1,775 shekels. Each talent (around 73 pounds) was turned into a brick of silver. These 100 silver bricks were used to make the brackets that served as the base for the wooden beams that formed the walls of the Tabernacle. The remaining 1,775 silver shekels were turned into silver hooks that held the beams together.
In essence, the silver half shekels collected by Moses, and given equally by all the people, rich or poor, were used to build the very foundation of God’s dwelling place on earth — the Tabernacle.
There is a powerful lesson here for us today. The use of these half shekels for the bases and hooks of the walls of the Tabernacle teaches us that without the equal participation of each and every one of us, the house of God will not stand. We all have an equal role in building God’s house.
Think of your place of worship. Consider what role you are playing in contributing to God’s house.