Dvar Torah: Parshat Vayakhel
In this week’s Parsha, the Torah recounts all of the donations that the Jewish people made for the building of Hashem’s holy temple, the Mishkan. After listing a majority of the donations, the passuk ends by recounting the donations made by the princes of each tribe. As the passuk says, “And the princes brought the shoham stones and filling stones for the ephod and for the choshen (breastplate).” In other words, not only did the princes of each tribe have the highest positions within the nation, but they actually made the most expensive donations, the precious stones that would be used in the breastplate of the Kohen Gadol, or High Priest! In that case, why is it that their donations, which are seemingly the most significant, are listed last? Rashi provides a seemingly simple, but extraordinary insight into this question. As he explains, the princes had the opportunity to give in their donations first, but instead, they chose to wait until everyone else donated, and then they filled in the remaining donations. The rest of the nation, on the other hand, ran to give whatever they could, without even a second thought! They gave whatever they had, and perhaps more importantly, they gave from the bottom of their hearts. For this reason, their donations were listed first, even if they weren’t necessarily the most expensive ones. One lesson we can all take from this Parsha is that it doesn’t only matter what we give. Rather, what’s more important in the eyes of Hashem is how we give! Whether it comes to giving away our time, money, or even affection to others, there is one basic question that we must always ask ourselves: Am I giving because I have to, or am I giving because I genuinely want to?