Even Shlomo - Parsha Pekudei
A Vorker Account
“These are the reckonings of the Tabernacle” (Sh'mos 38:21)
Here we are reading “Eileh pekudei haMishkan”; this is the account of the Tabernacle. (Sh'mos 38:21) Moshe Rabbeinu gives us an account. What kind of an account is Moshe Rabbeinu giving?
In the grocery store, I have an account. In the butcher store I have an account, in the bank I have an account. With my own wife, my own children, with most people, I don't have an account. For some reason, everything goes. Who cares what they do? I can yell at my children. I can yell at my wife because there is no account. Who cares? They are living with me in the same house.
It is very beautiful to be very close to G-d, but, on the other hand, if you feel so close, you lose the cheshbon. Listen, I'm so close to G-d, everything goes, but you know what? It doesn't work like this. The secret of life is to have an account and yet to know that it is much deeper than that. My connection to the grocery store is just the account. My bank, it's just an account. My wife and children, with G-d, it's not the account, but we should feel as if we do have an account as well.
You know, friends, between husband and wife you see it all the time. They would never talk to a stranger the way they talk to each other. You know why they talk like that to each other? Because they don't have an account. Maybe they should open an account. You wouldn't dare yell at someone else's children. Why do you yell at yours?
Only Moshe Rabbeinu can do this. He opens an account and yet he lets us know, b'chol ma'a-seihem ['in all their deeds'], wherever you travel, whatever you do, G-d is with you.
But here I want to share with you another type of an account, a Vorker account.
One of the greatest chasidim of the Holy Vorker was Reb Yankele. This Reb Yankele was very rich in his heart and in his mind, but nebech, not so much in his pockets. And another one of his greatest chasidim was Reb Moishele; he was not rich and not poor, but he had a few rubles. Reb Yankele has to marry off his daughter. He needs two hundred rubles to make a little wedding for his daughter. He goes to his neighbor, Reb Moishele, and asks a loan for two hundred rubles. “Will you give it back to me?” Reb Moishele asks. “I promise I’ll give it back.”
Five years later and he hasn’t given back the money. He doesn’t have it. But Moishele, he’s a straight guy, he is big on accounts. Whenever he sees Reb Yankele, he asks, “When are you paying me back?”
Once, late at night, Reb Moishele hears that the Vorker is coming by to Yankele. This is a good time to ask for the two hundred rubles. He knocks on the door and the Heilige Vorker opens the door. “Reb Moishele, so late at night. What brings you here?” Reb Moishele says, “I don’t want to say anything bad, I don’t want to put anyone to shame, it’s just you and me and Reb Yankele. Reb Yankele owes me two hundred rubles for five years and he hasn’t paid me back. The Vorker says, “You are one hundred percent right. He has to pay you back. Reb Yankele, bring me here all the money you have in the house. Every penny you have. Put it on the table.” Nebech, it was like "bedikas chametz" 'searching for the chametz.' He’s looking for money and he comes back with fifty-seven pennies.
The holy Vorker begins to count. One two, three, four, five. He counts to fifty-seven and then he keeps on counting the same pennies, fifty-eight, fifty-nine, he counted all the way to ten thousand rubles. He took the fifty-seven pennies and he gave them to Moishele. Here, this is yours for giving Yankele two hundred rubles. After a few weeks, Yankele was a multi-millionaire.
You see what this deepest depths is? When you love somebody very much, you take the same penny and count it a thousand times. If you love somebody very much, maybe once in their life they did you a favor, but you count that one good thing they did ten thousand times.
Gevalt, do we need a Vorker account.
Keeping it Together
"It was in the first month of the second year on the first of the month that the Tabernacle was erected." (Sh'mos 40:17)
The Medrash says (Midrash Tanchuma 39:11) that Moshe Rabbeinu put the tabernacle together and it fell apart every day for a week. Each time it fell apart, the crying was to high heaven. Only at the end of the week did it stay together. Friends, keeping it together is no simple thing, on any level.
How do you know if you mamesh have it together? Very simple. If you don't have it together you give up when it falls apart. If you really have it together inside, there is no such thing as giving up.
Take a look at us Yidden. How is it that we were away for two thousand years from the Holy Land and we never gave up? Because there is one thing we have together. Maybe we don't have Shabbos together, but the Holy Land is something that nobody can take away from us. What happens to you when you stand by the holy wall in Yerushalayim? Maybe you will still eat a hamburger next Yom Kippur, but something inside of you has it together.
But you see what it is, only Moshe Rabbeinu can put it together. Do you know why Moshe Rabbeinu can put the Mishkan together? Because ‘together’ is the teaching from heaven, not from this world. It's not from the Tree of Knowledge; it's from the Tree of Life. Moshe Rabbeinu brought down the mann (manna), Moshe gave us the Torah, but what is Moshe Rabbeinu really teaching us at the end of the book of redemption? He brings down the Torah of how to get it together.
This is the end of the book of Exodus, because if you don't have it together you are still in exile, you are still a slave.