In this week’s doubleheader of Parashat Vayakhel and Parashat Pekudei, Moshe conveys God’s instructions that anyone “whose heart so moves them” (Exodus 35:5) can donate materials toward the building of the Mishkan. Bnai Yisrael contributed so many materials that Moshe had to ask them to stop donating toward the campaign. This would be any fundraiser’s dream! Why were Bnai Yisrael so eager to contribute materials toward the construction of the Mishkan? Perhaps their abundant donations toward the Mishkan represented their eagerness to invest in their relationship with God. After all, the Mishkan was meant to serve as a tangible reminder of God’s presence. Would Bnai Yisrael receive dividends from their investments?
At the end of Parashat Pekudei we read that a cloud covered the Tent of Meeting and that the presence of God filled the Mishkan (Exodus 40:34). This cloud served as Bnai Yisrael’s visible dividend. Through a cloud by day and a fire by night, a sign of God’s presence continually hovered over the Mishkan. Even though Bnai Yisrael had a long journey ahead of them, their contributions toward the Mishkan led to a constant reminder that God had an investment in their security and future as a nation. Chazak Chazak V’Nitchazek!