In this week’s Torah portion, Vayakhel Moses assembles the people of Israel, gathering the whole congregation to come together to learn about Shabbat and the building of the Tabernacle.
Last week, we read about a congregation that misused the energy and zealousness that is born out of the atmosphere created when many individuals gather together. This “mob” mentality has the potential for grave harm and misdirection. When used for evil, the power of the collective can be devastating. It was what enabled the building and worshiping of the golden calf.
In a direct remedy and answer to the potential for communal evil and corruption buoyed by the masses, Moses gathers the people into an assembly to be directed towards spiritual elevation.
When humans unite and band together, there is great potential: for evil or for good.– Rabbi Shmulik Yeshayahu
The congregation gathered now is tasked with Shabbat and the building of the Mishkan. They are given the mission of making time and space holy; of elevating the mundane and repairing the world.
Through Shabbat, we elevate time. The building of the Tabernacle, and later the Temple showed the people how to elevate space and make the material world a home for G-dliness.
The instruction is clear: When humans unite and band together, there is great potential: for evil or for good.
Let us always use our collective power to help others, and to elevate and repair our surroundings.