Vayakhel – A Course in Wise Fund-raising

One can be generous to a fault. We were so very generous contributing to the golden calf! So, G-d gave us the opportunity to make amends by contributing to the construction of the Mishkan. A lesson for all of us – don’t make the mistake of supporting golden calves. The donations to the construction of the Mishkan were a specific opportunity to make amends for their misplaced and disastrous contributions to the building of the golden calf. Just as the latter were given of their volition, here, in our Parsha Vayakhel, G-d instructs the Jewish people to make these contributions purely voluntary. The text states “whosever heart inspires him to generosity”. In this way, the Jewish people made a complete atonement for the golden calf – donating for a truly holy cause. We Jewish people are generous by nature. That is why you find a disproportionate number of Jewish donors to many communal causes such as hospitals and assistance to the underprivileged. But many donate to golden calves, such as misplaced political causes and ridiculously lavish parties and celebrations. The future of Jewish peoplehood lies in one endeavour only: authentic uncompromised and unadulterated Jewish education. That is our Mishkan. Spend money, be generous, but ensure that your money is contributed wisely towards a future, not to glorify a past, not to promote guilt, not wear a lavish mask. Contributions, Tzedaka, must be true to the purpose of creation.