After weeks of preparation, in this week’s parshah, the Mishkan is finally put together. The entire nation was so excited to participate in the construction of the Mishkan, eventually, an interesting problem developed. The pasuk says, “הַמְּלָאכָה הָיְתָה דַיָּם לְכָל הַמְּלָאכָה לַעֲשׂוֹת אֹתָהּ וְהוֹתֵר” “And the work was sufficient for them for all the work, to do it and leave over” (Shemos 36:7). Bnei Yisrael donated so much material to the Mishkan, that Moshe had to tell them to stop.
The Ohr HaChaim asks, how come the pasuk has to say both that there was enough materials to finish the work, and also that there was enough to finish the construction and leave over extra? Isn’t it enough to say this once? Furthermore, the Torah already told us before in pasuk 5 that there was enough material, that’s why Moshe told them to stop bringing! Why does the Torah repeat this fact in our pasuk?
He explains that the extra mentions in this pasuk are describing an amazing miracle that took place. Really, there were already enough materials donated to build the entire Mishkan, but Hashem did not want any of the remaining Jews to feel bad that their donations would not be used since they were excess. Therefore, He made it that every single item that had been donated, even from the excess, would be used in the Mishkan. The miracle was that even though these materials were brought, they did not appear necessary, however, it turned out that every bit was used in the construction. This is what the pasuk means when it includes the fact that there was enough to leave over, these parts were also used in the construction of the Mishkan.
But why did Moshe feel that there was a limit to how much was needed? Wouldn’t it be a good thing to have extra stores of gold and silver prepared in the event that the Mishkan needed repairs? Or perhaps he could have figured out a way to get them into the original construction plan; after all, it can’t be a bad thing to over-decorate the resting place for the Shechinah!
The pasuk says, “אַל יַעֲשׂוּ עוֹד מְלָאכָה לִתְרוּמַת הַקֹּדֶשׁ וַיִּכָּלֵא הָעָם מֵהָבִיא” “Do not do any more work…so the nation stopped bringing” (36:6). The Seforno explains that Moshe did not tell them to stop bringing, rather he told them to stop doing any preparatory work. There were other materials besides for gold and silver, such as wool, animal hides, and wood, which would have gone bad if they went unused. Granted, the extra gold and silver could have been stored long-term and used at a later time, however, these natural materials would not have lasted. In order that Bnei Yisrael shouldn’t lose money, Moshe told them to stop their work with them. So really all the material could have and would have been used; however, in order to save Bnei Yisrael from financial loss, and in order to prevent these items from going to waste, the people were told to cease working with them. As a result of the fact that they couldn’t work with them, they stopped bringing them.
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