By: Herschel Karp (11th Grade)
Parshat Pekudei begins with the accounting of all the donations that were given to the Mishkan. Of these donations, such as gold for the vessels and silver for the foundation sockets, the donor could decide how much he wanted to give. The type of donation, as well as the amount, depended entirely on the resources and generosity of the person making the donation. However, for one of these materials, this was not the case. For the silver used to make the Mishkan’s foundation, Hashem commanded that everyone should give exactly a half shekel of silver, that the rich should not give more and the poor should not give less.
This specific requirement for donating silver can teach a very powerful lesson. Each person is different when it comes to intellect, character, talents, and emotions. But we are all equal in our most basic and fundamental connection to Hashem. Even though many of the donations were given to the Mishkan according to ability and uniqueness, we all gave an equal amount of silver, which the foundations were made from. When it comes to our fundamental connection between us and Hashem, a poor person cannot give less and a rich person cannot give more, because we are fully equal. Then, upon this foundation, we can build a home for Hashem made from our own unique talents, capacities, and resources. And even though these are the structures seen by everyone, as the foundation is below the building itself, the foundation, by being the basis for everything else, is the most important part.