Vayakhel-Pekudei: From Finite to Infinite
והמלאכה היתה דים לכל המלאכה לעשות אותה והותר
“There was enough gathered to perform all the tasks, and there was even left over”.
The Torah describes the collection of precious metals and materials needed to construct the Mishkan. The Jewish People were so enthusiastic that not only was the ‘campaign’ successful, it even exceeded all expectations and raised more than needed! The campaign was over before it started! Every fundraiser’s dream!
There is a fascinating Medrash that describes a conversation between Moshe Rabbeinu and Hashem:
א"ל משה להקב"ה עשינו את מלאכת המשכן והותרנו, מה נעשה בנותר? אמר לו, לך ועשה בהם משכן לעדות.
Moshe reported to Hashem; we completed the task of raising the necessary materials, and we even have surplus! What should we do with the extra? Hashem answered, use the extra to construct a mishkan for the eidus.
Presumably, Moshe was asking Hashem if he should refund the extra, unnecessary funds that were needed for the actual construction. But Hashem replied, no. Use them to build another Mishkan for the Eidus.
The question is, that nowhere do we find that a second, or any kind of backup Mishkan was built from any extra funds?!
Rav Shimon Schwab z”l explains beautifully:
The Mishkan was the central focus of the Jewish People in the wilderness. People visiting the Mishkan would see the Kohanim performing their service, and would take that inspiration back home with them.
The ‘heart’ of the mishkan, the energy source, so to speak, was the Aron, which contained the ‘eidus’, the luchos and the Torah. Torah study is what provides the spiritual energy and enthusiasm to continuously serve Hashem.
Avodah, or the performance of mitzvos is in a sense, finite. The mitzva has a required amount, it might have a specific time frame, and so on. Limud HaTorah on the other hand, is infinite. One never fulfills his obligation, is never done, and it is never bound to any time frame.
This is reflected in the fact that the Avodah of the korbonos must be started during the day. The slaughtering and the sprinkling of the blood are invalid at night. However, regarding learning Torah, is specifically says והגית בו יומם ולילה, we should meditate in Torah both day and night; constantly!
When Moshe asked Hashem if he should refund the excess funds, Moshe was considering the Mishkan to primarily represent ‘mitzvos’ that are finite. It has clear boundaries, and can be ‘completed’. To which Hashem replied, hold on to the extra, and store it away, to show that the source of the mishkan’s kedusha is the Torah which has no boundaries, and has no limitations! There is no such thing as too much, it is open-ended, and is not subject to ‘excess’.
May we all merit to access the unlimited potential of the Torah.