The last communal building project had not turned out very well. It was, of course, the Tower of Babel. It too began with a unified community. It was also an attempt by limited beings to achieve great heights. When we examine the story closely we will discover something strange: they decided to make bricks before they even thought of building a tower. It was as if their goal was to manufacture bricks and then they had to decide what to do with them. Their focus was on their creativity. They were searching for independence of God. They did not want to relay on the One Who could one day decide again to flood the world. Their bricks; the first use of bricks in the Bible, were a statement to God that they were not using His stones and rocks to build whatever they wanted.
Moshe does not begin with the creative instructions how to build the structure or manufacture the vessels. He began by instructing the people to collect what they already had; their gold, their silver, their precious stones, whatever they had and dedicate them to God.
Moshe began the process of building the Mishkan, and it surely was a process, by teaching the people that one can succeed in such great endeavors by appreciating the potential of the things he or she already possesses. We do not need to look for what we need. We do not need to wonder if we have the creative gifts to build a House for God. We simply must appreciate the potential of the things we already have.
And, there’s more…
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