Recently, while shopping, I used a self-checkout lane. As I approached the exit, an employee asked to see my receipt to verify that all items were accounted for.
I began searching for the receipt, and everything came out except the receipt I was asked to produce. I told the person, I must have left the receipt at the register and I’ll be right back. I went back and it was not there. I turned to the person in charge of overlooking self-checkouts and asked if she could reprint the last receipt from the register I used to check out. After some time, I was given the receipt and walked back and showed the person my receipt, which he didn’t even inspect. I was reunited with my cart and I must say, with my dignity. The person apologetically told me, “I can tell by the way you look that you had paid for the goods; I was just doing my job.”
No one likes to be accused.
In the second Parsha we read this week, Moshe gives an accounting for where all the donations were used. When it came to the silver half Shekel coin that each adult male was commanded to contribute, Moshe accounted for the amount needed to produce the 100 silver sockets that formed the foundations for the beams of the Mishkan. However, there was a discrepancy of 1775 silver Shekels that were not accounted for by Moshe.
Moshe became concerned that he would be accused of pocketing the money and prayed to G-d that he recall where it was spent. G-d answered his prayers and he remembered that the 1775 silver Shekels were used for hooks and designs for the sixty copper pillars that were used to hold up the curtains that surrounded the Temple area.
Rabbi Moshe Sofer o.b.m., who is known as the Chasam Sofer, clarifies something that I had never understood. Our Sages tell us that each of the 600,000 adult males that stood at Mount Sinai corresponded to one of the 600,000 letters of the Torah.
The question is, in the census that was taken in the desert, there were 603,550 adult males. Where do the 3,550 males above the 600,000 fit in with the letters of the Torah?
Says the Chasam Sofer, these 3,550 males did not have a deep attachment to Torah. Moshe, in tallying the silver that was contributed through the half Shekels considered all the contributions that represented those who had a deep attachment to Torah. Moshe temporarily forgot about the 1775 half Shekels that came from the 3,550 males who may have lacked the attention to the study of Torah. He then recalled that those talents of silver were used for hooks upon the Amudim/pillars that held the curtains.
Possibly, Moshe at first forgot about them because he felt that their contribution was less valuable then the others. However, the Torah highlights the 1775 Shekel contribution to convey to us that although by nature the contributors of the 1775 silver talents did not possess the same intensity towards Torah as the rest, it teaches us that through their attachment to the ‘Amudim’ – the pillars – they could achieve a connection to Torah corresponding to the rest of the Jewish people. These pillars represent the pillars of the world – the righteous of the generation – or the three pillars that the Mishna tells us the world rests upon, the Torah, Service to G-d and loving kindness,
The Torah calls the silver hooks, Vuvai Haamudim. We know that the sixth letter of the Alef Beis is Vuv. The format of the letter Vuv looks like a hook. A Vuv at the beginning of a word means – “and”, and it is a connector/hook to something said previously.
These contributions provided a unique service to G-d and served as connectors for Klal Yisroel by organizing and bringing things together.
This idea is brought out as well in regards to the Torah prohibition of removing the poles that were used to transport the Holy Ark even when it rested in its designated place.
One of the reasons given for this, is that the poles of the Ark represent the supporters of the Torah, who carry the financial responsibility for Torah learning to flourish. Just as the poles are always attached, so too, the supporters of Torah, whether they have the ability to study or not, are always intimately attached to the Torah.
The letter Vuv is spelled with two Vuvs. The Gematria of two Vuv’s is 12. This could mean that those who contributed towards a Vuv – hook were an integral part of the totality of the 12 tribes. Additionally, the Gematria of the word Vavai – hooks is 22 which can represent the 22 letters of the Alef Bais with which the letters of the Torah scroll are written, to which these contributors stood proud to be connected to!