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Dvar for Vayakhel (Exodus 35:1-38:20)

After the disappointing event of the golden calf, Parshat Vayakhel recounts some of the Jews’ positive traits, including their eagerness to contribute materials needed to erect the Mishkan. The Passuk states that “the work was enough for the work that was needed, and there was extra” (36:7). Rashi explains that the first “work” refers to the act of bringing the materials to the craftsmen, but if that’s what the Torah meant, why not be clear about it? Also, if they were stopped after bringing what was needed why would there also be extra?

The Or HaChaim answers both questions by suggesting that G-d was so pleased with the people’s eagerness to contribute that He found a way to make use of the excess donated, such that no one’s contributions were wasted. G-d was pleased with the effort of the people’s delivery of the materials as much as the donation of the materials themselves. This could be why the Passuk uses the same word to describe the bringing of the material and the material itself. The Passuk would then be conveying that the effort and eagerness of the people was so appreciated that it was as important as the material itself. What’s clear is that we don’t need to be experts in what we do – effort and enthusiasm is fundamental in how we interact with G-d as well as each other.