Man’s Highest Calling

February 2, 2019 at 6:03 AM , , ,

“…Speak to Bnei Yisrael and have a contribution taken for me…” – Shemos 25:2

דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְיִקְחוּ לִי תְּרוּמָה – שמות כה, ב

According to one opinion in the Zohar (vol. 2 p. 224a), both the commandment to build the Mishkan, as well as Bnei Yisrael’s donation of materials for its construction, took place immediately after the Giving of the Torah, before the episode of the Golden Calf. Support for this opinion is found in the fact that the Golden Calf was made from molten earrings (Shemos 32:2-3), and not from the plentiful supply of gold that Bnei Yisrael had taken from the Egyptians. This was because, explains the Zohar, they had already donated most of the gold they owned for the construction of the Mishkan.


From here we see how critical it is for a person to endeavor to transform all aspects of his material life into a means of serving G-d. At the time of G-d’s command regarding the Mishkan, Bnei Yisrael were in their most elevated and perfect state, having been cleansed at the Giving of the Torah from any spiritual filth (see Talmud, Shabbos 146a). Yet, at that point G-d instructed them to build a Mishkan, demonstrating that making a Mishkan, a home for G-d from our physical lives and mundane possessions, is man’s highest calling, even if he is already perfect in all other areas.

Furthermore, according to this opinion, the bulk of Bnei Yisrael’s gold was spared from being part of the most calamitous sin in history only because Bnei Yisrael had already sanctified it for the Mishkan. This teaches us that to be truly anchored in righteousness, spiritual development is not enough; we must see to devote the material aspects of our lives as well to the goal of creating a home for G-d.

—Likkutei Sichos vol. 6, pp. 153-155


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