Stealing from Yourself
Based on the teachings of: The Be’er Yoseph, R’ Shalom Rosner and R’ Akiva Tatz
Why on earth did Moshe have to count out every single material and item involved in the making of the mishkan? Because we see that people were talking behind Moshe’s back “they looked after Moshe” with disdain. They were murmuring “Maybe he’s taking all profits” Moshe’s probably skimping off the top and pocketing riches for himself!” Therefore, when Moshe heard this he said “I will give you an exact account for every socket and bolt.” This way no one will have any doubt of him. First of all we see that he did not yell at them asking how they could accuse him. He took the high road and proved to be the better man in the situation (as befitting the MOST HUMBLE of whom ever existed).
But, WHY would they suspect him? Yes, these people were “scoffers” but something must have motivated them to come forward now. And if the story is even included here, there must b a Message…
When the Jews left Egypt were very rich: gold, silver, donkeys, ect… But MOSHE did Not take anything but the “Bones of Yoseph.” He was interested in only Mitzvos and Spirituality. So when did Moshe become RICH? After being the mountain for 40 days. Hi FACE began to shine and literally became RICH from it. The experience made him literally have everything he would ever need (some say it was from extra pieces of the Tablets or you can try to understand that physical blessing os really only manifested from spirituality anway, and Moshe had that greatest connection imaginable… but that is for another conversation a different time). Now, people see Moshe and they have no idea where it all came from – all of sudden he’s rich! So Moshe felt need to prove it to them.
But let’s understand not the shallow level, 2nd grade story level here. What were they REALLY saying? What was the underlying current and what were they Accusing him of?
Backstory: When a person steals a spoon from Bes Hamikdash (B’M)/ Holy Temple, what is the penalty? DEATH. Seems a little harsh, ay? But let’s delve into a simpler question- What is the Root of all stealing? A Ganav (a robber who steals from a home while people are either away or sleeping) pays double. But a Gazlun pays just the value of the item. Why? Because the Gazlun doesn’t care about G-d or people. He will walk up to you in the middle of broad daylight and pull your wallet out of your hands. A Ganav however, cares about PEOPLE but NOT G-d. He puts Hashem LOWER than people. Geneiva (a Ganav) has a LACK of fear of G-d. R’ Yochanan ben Zachai on his deathbed told his students to Fear G-d as much as people. They said that’s it?! He says Halevay, “If only…” Stealing a vessel from B’M, is not only denying G-d’s knowledge, but it is in His own HOUSE where his presence is most manifest! If robber is not able to acknowledge and recognize G-d EVEN HERE that’s why he should get the death penalty.
Back to our Parsha: Here, these scoffers think not just about stealing, but Geneiva from B’M = The Tabernacle! And not just that, but Moshe was just up on the Mountain for 40 days (x3, 40 for forgiveness then 3rd 40days for second Tablets) in the face of G-d! Yet, they STILL suspected, and it makes NO sense. But That’s the POWER of AMALEK. These “scoffers” had that sickened mentality. Same as the Sin of the Golden Calf. The “detaching” form the ultimate source of G-d and focussing on only a branch instead of the ROOT. All their money they threw in to this fire and only a tiny little calf comes out? But they didn’t blink twice about losing all their fortunes. But Now they gave a TINY Half a Shekel each and got HUGE Mishkan and vessels… and NOW they r worried everything that everything should be accounted for!? When giving to a “idol” no problem, when we spend $ on things other than Spirituality, no problem! $700 camera? $1500 Macbook Pro? Sure, go ahead. But then all of a sudden there are Shul dues… “Oh, how much is this going to cost me?” “$200? Do we really have to spend soo much?” THIS is the POWER of not Grabbing G-d in his entirety and worshiping not just “an idol” but really worshipingOURSELVES. That is the ultimate true STRANGE WORSHIP of Avodah Zarah. When it comes to YOURSELF nothing is ever to much of a cost. When we can learn how to RE-FOCUS our attention and efforts where they truly belong, only then will G-d bless us back, Midah Keneged Midah, with the building once again of His final resting place in the 3rd Beis Hamikdash, speedily in our days. Amen.