Torah Weekly

For the week ending 12 March 2005 / 1 Adar II 5765

Parshat Pekudei

by Rabbi Yaakov Asher Sinclair -
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The Book of Shemot concludes with this Parsha. After finishing all the different parts, vessels and garments used in the Mishkan, Moshe gives a complete accounting and enumeration of all the contributions and of the various clothing and vessels which had been fashioned. Bnei Yisrael bring everything to Moshe. He inspects the handiwork and notes that everything was made according to G-ds specifications. Moshe blesses the people. Hashem speaks to Moshe and tells him that the Mishkan should be set up on the first day of the first month, i.e., Nissan. He also tells Moshe the order of assembly for the Mishkan and its vessels. Moshe does everything in the prescribed manner. When the Mishkan is finally complete with every vessel in its place, a cloud descends upon it, indicating that G-d's glory was resting there. Whenever the cloud moved away from the Mishkan, Bnei Yisrael would follow it. At night the cloud was replaced by a pillar of fire.


Whiter Than White

"These are the accounts"

Try and open a bank account today in a foreign country and youll find yourself wading through a set of forms guarding against an extremely dangerous and unattractive denizen of deep-water banking The Money Launderer.

The Money Launderer is a thriving, but hardly new species. For example, the Vatican faces a legal landmine that has been quietly wending its way through the American federal court system since 1999.

In November of that year, Ukrainian Holocaust survivors, later joined by Serb and Jewish plaintiffs, filed a class action lawsuit against the Vatican Bank, a Croatian right-wing political organization and the Franciscan Order, alleging complicity in the laundering of Nazi World War II loot including the proceeds of genocide from several Croatian-run concentration camps where upwards of 500,000 Serbs, Jews and others were killed between 1941 and 1945.

The Vatican Bank has claimed sovereign immunity to the lawsuit declaring that it is an arm of the Holy See.

According to a 1998 report issued by the US State Department, the Nazi Croatian treasury was illicitly transferred to the Vatican Bank and other banks after the end of World War II.

The Vatican has repeatedly denied any Franciscan participation in war crimes or the disappearance of the Croatian Treasury, yet it has refused to open its wartime records to substantiate its denial.

In this weeks Torah portion, Moshe presents a complete accounting of all the donations to the Mishkan (Tent of Meeting). Not only did Moshe give an accounting, but he gave his calculations to Aharons son, Itamar so that Itamar could check his math.

G-d called Moshe "trustworthy" (Bamidbar 12:7). Why then did Moshe need to make a public accounting in front of all the people?

Moshe had overheard remarks such as "Ben Amrams (Moshes) neck is getting pretty fat lately." "No wonder. Hes in charge of all that money for the Mishkan" Certainly, these remarks were only made by lowlifes. The Jewish People as a whole trusted Moshe but they were puzzled about Moshes sudden wealth. They didnt know that G-d had let Moshe keep the fragments of Safire left over from the hewing of the second Tablets. These splinters of Safire made Moshe fabulously wealthy.

Moshe was scrupulous to a tee with the donations he received for the Mishkan, but nevertheless he gave an accounting because he didnt want to be suspected falsely of doing a little laundering on the side.

From Moshe our Teacher we can learn that its not enough for us to do the right thing, we must also be seen to do the right thing.

  • Based on the Midrash

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