When I read the Parshiyot about the construction of the Mishkan – Tabernacle each year I wonder about the building committee that Moshe appointed. The Torah tells us every detail about the architecture, collection of funds and the construction of the Tabernacle, but not much about the committee. I wonder if there was committee politics, how often they met and what credentials were needed to be appointed.
I wish we had the minutes to those meetings because it was an incredibly successful committee. There was 100% communal participation, they collected more then they needed (they actually had to send home donors because they had enough!) and everyone volunteered their unique talents to help the project.
It is also noteworthy that our ancestors lived in Sukkoth / Huts for forty years in the desert while they deconstructed and reconstructed the intricate pieces of the Tabernacle dozens of times. The Desert Synagogue – Mishkan was more beautiful, elaborate and expensive then all the people’s houses put together. Wow!
How did people buy into the concept that the Mishkan – Desert Shul should be grander then their own homes? Nowadays does such a concept exist?
Was it because they were accustomed to slave quarters in Egypt? Was it because they were thankful that G-d redeemed them from slavery? Was it because their homes were only temporary in the desert? Perhaps – all of the above.
Yet to me there is one point that is very crystal clear – Our ancestors understood well that there are some things that are more important themselves and their comforts in the world. They believed that fulfilling G-d’s will and word is much more vital then satisfying one’s own desires. They understood that they were charged with a holy and eternal task – building a house for G-d. Therefore, the Jews lived in mere huts but prayed in a Palace/Mishkan.
The Israelites took care of their Shul/Tabernacle because they understood that the Shul/Tabernacle took care of them.
May our shuls / synagogues with all of their committees, services and activities inspire us and the communities around them towards lives of meaning, greatness and fulfillment.