March 11, 2016
This perspective from Rav Mordechai Shifman, of Emek Acadmey in Los Angeles, certainly helps us gain a deeper appreciation of Parshas Pekudei. Hope you enjoy!
The Parsha details the precise accounting of all the donations made by Bnei Yisroel for the construction of the vessels and the Mishkan. Moshe's integrity was beyond reproach. Why then did he see fit to offer such a detailed report?
The verse describes the Mishkan as the "Mishkan Ha'eidus" - "Tabernacle of Testimony". Most of the commentaries explain that the expression refers to the Tablets that were housed within the Mishkan. However, Rashi identifies the "Testimony" as the Mishkan itself, "for it attested that Hashem had forgiven Bnei Yisroel for the sin of the Golden Calf".The Maharal asks why the receiving of the second Tablets, which preceded the Mishkan, was not the testimony that Hashem had forgiven Bnei Yisroel.
After the sin of the Golden Calf, Moshe ascended Har Sinai to beg for the forgiveness of Bnei Yisroel. Hashem instructed Moshe to leave, for He was planning to destroy the entire nation. Moshe successfully interceded upon Bnei Yisroel's behalf and they were afforded atonement. Moshe's actions were fruitful in protecting Bnei Yisroel from the devastating punishment which they deserved, but how could it have afforded them atonement? A person must rectify his transgressions to receive atonement. What did Bnei Yisroel do to rectify their transgression?
When Moshe descended the mountain on Yom Kippur, he relayed Hashem's wishes that Bnei Yisroel build a Mishkan. The Mishkan was the medium through which they could rectify their transgression and thereby receive atonement. The manner in which they would build the Mishkan would determine whether they were worthy of atonement. Bnei Yisroel had to show that it was a labor of love manifesting from their desire to establish a relationship with Hashem.
The message of Parshas Pikudei is to convey the meticulousness and precision that was used to build the Mishkan. Such care could only be an expression of love. If Bnei Yisroel's only interest was self-preservation, the job would have been completed haphazardly. Moshe accounted for each ounce of gold and silver not because his integrity was being questioned, but to emphasize the love and effort invested in this project.