Moses assembled the entire community of Israel and said to them,
"These are the words which G-d commanded to do
come and do all that G-d
has commanded. The Sanctuary"
At this great assembly, Moses conveyed
G-ds commandment for the building and the furnishing of the Sanctuary.
The Midrash states that the building of the Sanctuary was an atonement for the
sin of the Golden Calf, and that the donation of gold for the Sanctuary was to
offset the gold contributed for the idol (Tanchuma).
Although idolatry ranks as the most grievous
transgression, and one who concedes to idolatry is considered to have rejected
the entire Torah (Sifri Shelach 15:22), we nevertheless find that when
Jews are united, G-d is willing to overlook even this grave sin (Bamidbar
The reason that this unique property of unity
and brotherhood is able to offset the most serious of sins may be because
idolatry leads to divisiveness. In fact, the Talmud states that Jews never took
idols seriously, and knew very well that they were of no substance. The only
reason they gravitated toward idolatry was because it allowed them to formulate
a religion that would cater to their desires (Sanhedrin 63b). Inasmuch
as peoples desires may differ greatly and are often in conflict with one
another, true togetherness and idolatry cannot co-exist. Thus, when Jews seek
to be united, they are far less likely to condone idolatry.
In implementing the building of the Sanctuary
which was to atone for the worship of the Golden Calf, Moses sought to
reinforce the resolve against idolatry. He therefore assembled the entire
community to encourage togetherness in the work for the Sanctuary.
Unity among Jews is without peer in eliciting
the divine blessing.
Excerpt from Living Each Week, by
Abraham J. Twerski, M.D