1. Presumably, God could have simply created the mishkan (portable sanctuary in the desert) without any human involvement. What are some reasons that God might have asked the Israelites to build it themselves?
Pinchas H. Peli, Torah Today: A Renewed Encounter with Scripture (Washington, DC: B'nai B'rith Books, 1987), pp. 82-83
"Besides the immediate purpose of the campaign, to collect materials for the building of a sanctuary, it also serves an educational purpose: to convert the people from passive participants in their relationship with the Lord, as constant recipients of His gifts, into active partners.
"The in-dwelling of God among the people cannot take place as long as the people are passive and do nothing to help bring the sacred into the world. 'And let them make me a sanctuary—that I may dwell among them.' My dwelling among them is on the condition that they make the sanctuary. . . . Man must start out on the path towards God . . . in order for God to meet him half-way as his partner in the act of sanctification."
(as quoted by Rabbi Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus, https://reformjudaism.org/learning/torah-study/torah-commentary/place-god-dwell)
- Why does Peli think God asked that the mishkan be built with gifts from the people?
- Why do you think the Torah lists all the different gifts that people brought?
- Think back to a group project that worked really well. What were the different things group members brought to the project? Were there any gifts that were unique to that particular person, that no one else had?
- Have you ever had the experience of asking for contributions -- of funds, time, skills -- and people exceeded your expectations? Under what circumstances?
- What do you think made that situation one in which people wanted to give, even more than was needed? What motivated their giving? What "moved their heart"?
- Have you yourself ever been moved to give to a communal project, especially of your time or skills? What motivated you?
- Are there any elements of those situations that you could replicate in a future "building" project?
To copy the sources into your own Sefaria source sheet, you can find this source sheet at www.sefaria.org/sheets/459897.
To learn more about Clal's The Belonging Project, see https://www.clal.org/belonging.