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Vayakhel; How did the Jewish people redeem themselves after the Sin of the Golden Calf?

How did the Jewish people redeem themselves after the Sin of the Golden Calf?

Table for Five: Vayakhel

In partnership with the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles

 Edited by Salvador Litvak, the Accidental Talmudist

The men came with the women; every generous hearted person brought bracelets and earrings and rings and buckles, all kinds of golden objects, and every man who waved a waving of gold to the Lord.

-Ex. 35:22

Rebbetzin Miriam Yerushalmi, CEO, SANE; Author, Reaching New Heights series

The name of this parshah is Vayakhel, meaning, “and he gathered.” Moshe Rabbeinu gathered the thousands of individuals in the wilderness and joined them, through a holy purpose, with achdus, unity. They became a single entity, Klal Yisrael, intent on building the Mishkan, a dwelling place for Hashem.

“The men came with the women, …bringing all kinds of golden objects” to contribute to this national project. This unity was in corrective contrast to the action of a portion of the populace in the previous parshah. In that instance, rather than everyone bringing their golden ornaments with a “generous heart,” the men who wanted it had to take these objects by force from their wives, their sons, and their daughters to make the golden calf. What were these golden objects? While there undoubtedly were many household and decorative items donated, only four are singled out here by name: bracelets, earrings, rings, and buckles. These are ornaments for our bodies and our garments, worn to beautify and protect our physical selves. Perhaps they were specified to point out their spiritual correlative. Tanya teaches that the mitzvos we do create “garments” for our souls, beautifying and protecting our spiritual selves.

Any positive action by an individual is good, but the unified action of our people is very special in Hashem’s eyes. Let us learn from this parshah to unite for the purpose of doing good, for the purpose of helping each other, and thereby build a dwelling place for Hashem in our days.

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