Rabbi Milevsky's Thought of the Week: Vayakheil - Pekudei - 5773
PURITY IN THE SERVICE OF HASHEM
Pareshat Pekudei begins with a complete list of all the goods, that were donated to the Mishkan. the Torah notes that the accounting was not done by Moshe himself, rather; “by the Levites under the direction of Ithamar son of Aaron, the priest.” Commentators note that Moshe wanted a third-party to perform the accounting to avoid any future questions regarding the usage of the precious materials that were donated to the Mishkan.
Moshe was teaching all future leaders of the People of Israel to avoid any act that might be viewed as questionable. Accounting transparency is a very significant value in our tradition. The Mishna in tractate Shekalim teaches that when the Kohen would enter the chamber that contained the funds designated for the purchase of Korabnot he would not wear a sleeved cloak or any garment that might be able to conceal coins. the Mishnah explains that “a person must satisfy mankind just as he must satisfy Hashem as the Torah states: "you shall be clean before Hashem and Israel (Bamidbar, 32:22)"
Thus, just as the Torah requires physical purity -Taharah-as a prerequisite for entering the Mishkan, so to financial purity is expected in serving Hashem!