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  • Writer's pictureRabbi Skorka

Pekudei - Accountability

This parashah details all of the construction materials that Moses received for the building of the Tabernacle and its utensils, including their monetary value. Moses is accountable to the people to ensure that his leadership position was not used for his personal enrichment.

We see the same attitude in Samuel, when he appointed Saul as king (1 Samuel 12:3). When all the people gathered together with Saul in Gilgal, the prophet asked publicly if he had robbed, harmed or swindled anyone. When there were no claims of dishonesty made against him, he called upon the anointed king and God as witnesses of his trustworthiness.

Surely there were few who doubted the honesty of these great teachers who were spiritually so close to God. These leaders were willing to submit to having their honesty verified in order to be models of the transparent attitude that should be imitated by all leaders in the future.

Similarly, Moses demanded that the tribes Reuben, Gad and half of Manasseh obey God’s command and cross the Jordan River, even though they were reluctant to do so. They had to show that they were "guiltless before God and before Israel" (Numbers 32:22). This means that not only God must know the honesty of the individual, but also that the people must have confidence in each other’s uprightness and of their leaders in particular.

Today, corruption is an evil that affects many peoples and nations. Corrupt leaders vilely enrich themselves by destroying the livelihoods of their people and their moral character.

The people of Israel began to make their way in history through the figure of a great leader, who left his imprint upon them. Perhaps this is one of the most important reasons for Israel’s durability over the centuries.

Shabbat Shalom!


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