Under Scrutiny!

After the Jews sinned with the golden calf they were commanded to construct a Temple for G-d.

It took only two days for them to contribute the large amounts of gold, silver, copper, precious stones and other necessary materials! So great was the desire of the Jews to restore G-d’s presence amongst them.

Betzalel and his assistant Eliav, as the architects and overseers of the massive project, began the work in the middle of the month of Tishrei. The intricate, delicate and skilled work was completed at the end of the month of Kislev, a short three months later.

We can imagine the excited energy the Jews had to immediately begin the erection of the Temple. Yet, Moshe told them to wait, saying that it wasn’t the right time to put it together.

The Talmud teaches us that the people started to grumble and gripe amongst themselves, “Why is he delaying its construction and inauguration?” They grew suspicious of Moshe wondering why he was postponing G-d’s presence from enveloping them.

The truth is that G-d told Moshe to hold off on the construction of the Temple for another 3 months until the month of Nisan. However, Moshe was not allowed to share this information with the nation.

During the three months that some suspected that Moshe delayed the construction, Moshe remained focused on his mission to lead and teach and did not let the negative chatter deter him in any way.

The Talmud relates that when Moshe instructed Betzalel to work on the Temple components, he first told Betzalel to work on the Holy Ark and the vessels and then to work on the actual Temple. Betzalel countered and said, “Wouldn’t it be more logical to first build the edifice of the Temple before we work on the vessels so that the building would be ready to house the vessels?  Moshe then recalled that indeed G-d instructed him to work on the edifice first, just as Betzalel reasoned, and he praised Betzalel for this.

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein o.b.m. tells us that we can understand that Moshe wanted the Ark, the holiest of components, to be worked on first, but why did he not consider Betzalel’s reasoning that they should create the edifice first so that it would be ready as a repository for the Ark?

Reb Moshe explains that since Moshe was the only one aware that the Temple would not be immediately erected upon completion of the components, he felt that the Holy Ark should be worked on first, for in any case the Temple would not be erected to house the Ark when it was completed. Betzalel was unaware of this and felt that the edifice should be worked on first. When Moshe agreed to Betzalel’s approach, it made Moshe’s directives to hold off on erecting the Temple when the components were completed that much more bewildering.

As we mentioned, Moshe in his leadership capacity did not get frustrated or swayed by the murmurings about his stalling the Temple’s construction and held steadfast to G-d’s command to wait. Things were eventually clarified when G-d commanded Moshe to build the Temple and inaugurate the Temple in the month of Nisan.

Additionally, when the actual time came to build the Temple, they found it impossible to erect. G-d gave Moshe the miraculous ability and strength to erect it by himself. Moshe did this a number of times during its inaugural process. This also proved that Moshe’s instruction to wait for its erection was by the instruction of G-d.

This was not the only time that the Jewish people were suspicious of Moshe. In our portion, Moshe, who was entrusted with collecting the precious materials for the Temple, gave an accounting of all the components and vessels and how it was apportioned. The Torah then focuses on a specific 1775 talents of silver that were used for hooks to hang the curtains of the Temple’s courtyards. Our Sages tell us that this information is highlighted because when Moshe was making an account of all the materials, he forgot what these 1775 talents of silver were used for.

Moshe felt suspected of skimming off money for himself. He prayed to Hashem that he should remember where it was appropriated. Hashem assisted him and he recalled that they were used for the hooks of the courtyard.

Moshe, our leader, spent 120 days in Heaven. He was taught the Torah in its entirety by G-d Himself. G-d called him His servant and the humblest of all of mankind. Although Moshe rose to the highest levels of prophecy and spirituality that one is able to attain, he didn’t ‘get a free pass’ by the people. They did not overlook what they felt wary of. They judged him and held him accountable as a regular human being.

As things unfolded, of course, the suspicions against Moshe were unfounded and he was totally vindicated.

This shows us that Moshe’s every move was under the scrutiny of the people. Thus, it demonstrates and verifies that every word of our Torah, every command that G-d conveyed to Moshe to instruct the Nation was not accepted until it was fully verified as true. It was then authentically passed down from that generation uninterruptedly until today and forever!