March 17, 2020 — 21 Adar 5780
Thoughts on the Second Aliyah of Vayakel
Yesterday, in the first aliyah, we saw that Moshe’s response to the social breakdown which led to the building of the Egel Zahav (Golden Calf) was to rebuild community by commanding the nation to observe Shabbat and build the Mishkan (Tabernacle). The people responded enthusiastically, the Torah speaks of “wise men and women whose hearts inspired them with wisdom” generously donating to the Mishkan.
How did the same people who built the calf suddenly transform into wise people full of wisdom? In other words, how did they transform so quickly from sinners to Zaddikim? The answer is simple. Moshe provided them with an outlet to channel their nervous energy. Instead of using their energy to build a calf and dancing around it in a shameless fashion, the people used that same energy to build a house for G-d.
When we feel ourselves overcome by fear, our Yatzer Hara (evil inclination) tells us to lash out. But in the end such a response is never productive. Rather than lashing out, let’s redirect that energy to do good by doing G-d’s work. By doing so we will allow our Yatzer Hatov (good inclination) to overcome our evil inclination.
Please take a moment to call a member of our AKSE family to check in on them. By doing so you will be doing G-d’s work.
Rabbi Steven Saks