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Monday, August 19, 2019 - 18 Av 5779
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When G-d sent out the call for the Jewish people to contribute towards building a Tabernacle in the wilderness, the response was overwhelming. The Jews eagerly brought their furs, their gold, silver, their precious stones and rich fabrics, to beautify G-d’s Sanctuary.

Only one group of people stood on the sidelines. They were the nesiim, the heads of the tribes. Rather than rush and contribute their own precious materials, they decided to wait until all the Jews had brought their gifts, and then fill in whatever was missing. However, it turned out that the donations of the rest of the people were more than ample to build the Sanctuary. Nothing was left for the heads of tribes to bring.

Seeing that all the supplies for the Sanctuary were already provided, the heads of tribes decided to donate wagons, to transport the portable Sanctuary through the desert. They brought six wagons, each pulled by two oxen.

If the nesiim were eager to rectify their oversight and make a fitting donation to the Sanctuary, why did they donate only six wagons—half a wagon per person? At the very least, each of the twelve heads of tribes should have donated a full wagon. The Sanctuary in the desert was built lavishly, with the best materials that the Jews had to offer. Why skimp on the wagons?

The nesiim donated six wagons, no more and no less, because the Sanctuary was built with extreme precision. Each contribution was put to full use, but there was no excess. Exactly six wagons were needed to transport the boards, so six wagons were donated.

Our sages teach: “Whatever G-d created in His world, He did not create a single thing in vain.” This rule is in force for every time and place. Everything that G-d created has its purpose.

Just as every item used in the Sanctuary was made with precision and there was no excess, the same is true of the Sanctuary within our own home and heart. G-d gave us possessions, and He also gave us our unique talents and abilities. We must utilize the gifts G-d gave us to their fullest. Nothing was given to us in vain.

Our homes and possessions were given to us to enable us to serve G-d with peace of mind. Our talents were given to us to enrich and benefit the world at large. Our time, too, is given to us as a gift, and we must not squander a minute of it. Every moment of the day must be filled with constructive activity. Even our so-called “down time” is constructive, provided we use it to refresh ourselves to dedicate ourselves to another day of productive action.

The previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Joseph I. Schneerson, said that when Moshiach comes we will miss the days of exile. We will regret the time that we did not spend on studying Torah and fulfilling mitzvot, since the reward for performing mitzvot in exile, in toil and hardship, exceeds anything that we can accomplish in the days of Redemption. Now, in the final moments of exile, let us utilize the time we have left to accumulate those blessings and prepare ourselves and the world for the ultimate Redemption.


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