Overabundance of Just Enough (Pekudei)
The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. -Franklin D. Roosevelt
In building the Tabernacle in the desert, at the foot of Mount Sinai, God directs Moses to take up a collection of materials from the people of Israel. They donate gold, silver, copper, wood, skins, cloth, thread and anything else that was needed. The people of Israel are so generous with their contributions that the artisans tell Moses they need to stop with the contributions. They have more than enough material to complete the construction of the Tabernacle.
The Chidushei HaRim on Exodus 38:21 reads a seeming contradiction in the verse. The verse can be read as saying that there was enough, meaning they received exactly the materials they needed and not more, but that at the same time they had too much. So, which is it? Was it enough or was it too much?
The Chidushei HaRim answers that because the people of Israel contributed to the Tabernacle for the sake of Heaven, without any ulterior motives, they reached a place over and above nature itself. They reached a place where there was no contradiction between “just enough” and “too much.” Having reached that supernatural place because of their selfless generosity, it empowered the people of Israel to have access to that supernatural state for all time.
The Chidushei Harim continues to explain that what the people of Israel proceed to do with that eternal power is to construct the Mishkan L’edut “A Tabernacle for the Pact.” What exactly the Mishkan L’edut is and how it differs, if it does, from the simpler appellation of just Mishkan “Tabernacle” he doesn’t say. Though it is likely safe to suggest that it is directly related to the Tabernacle housing the Luchot HaBrit, the Tablets of the Pact with the Ten Commandments written on them by the hand of God. A Pact between God and the people of Israel that would last forever and that would survive the Tabernacle itself in its travels and various incarnations.
May we always feel that we have enough in the physical realm while always reaching to connect with more of God in the spiritual realm, via the eternal Pact, the Torah.
To the many volunteers who are helping the hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees and in particular to my friend Rabbi Avi Baumol of Krakow who is actively helping at the Ukrainian border. They are raising funds needed for the effort at this link: https://www.friendsofjcckrakow.org/ukraine