Do You Have the Courage to Make a Commitment?

Rabbi Reuven Mann

This week’s parsha, Pikudei, is the final section of the Torah dealing with the Mishkan.  It was an enormous construction project, involving great amounts of building materials, precious metals and highly skilled labor.  After the Mishkan was completed Moshe was commanded to set it up and arrange all the vessels in their proper places.  An important part of readying the Tabernacle for use involved an activity known as “Meshicha” ie. anointing the Tabernacle, as well as all of its vessels with the special anointing oil thus making them fit for use.  The Kohanim also were prepared for service.  First they donned the special garments (Bigdei Kehuna) and then they were anointed with the special oil, set aside for that purpose.  The question arises: what was the purpose of the anointing oil and what lesson can we derive from it?

In my opinion the process of anointing is vital to the successful achievement of the purpose of the Mishkan.  The physical properties of the vessels and the skills of the ministers are important but not enough.  Many people attend synagogue or study Torah and perform good deeds, as the spirit moves them.  They tend to these most vital endeavors in a haphazard, sporadic manner.  Judaism recognizes the importance of a commitment as being vital to an ongoing attitude of involvement in the task.  From a physical standpoint the Mishkan and its vessels as well as the Kohanim were ready for action.  Hashem demanded that they be consecrated with the special anointing oil first.  This would serve to dedicate them to the exclusive mission of the Divine service which was to be associated with the Mishkan.  Judaism believes that it is not enough to serve Hashem only when we “get the urge.”  We must recognize that that is our purpose and what Hashem created us for.  We should dedicate ourselves to the service of G-d by committing ourselves to Torah study, prayer and good deeds in a conscientious, consistent manner.  Many people have “commitment issues” in various areas of life.  The two most prominent ones are interpersonal relationships and religious observance.  There is a fear of losing one’s freedom and autonomy.  This is understandable.  One shouldn’t just jump into things he is not prepared for.  However, there comes a time when a person must get off the fence and decide.  He must have the courage to commit and dedicate himself to the most important tasks of life.  A great relationship can only be created on the basis of absolute commitment to make it work.  The Jewish people and Torah way of life has endured despite all the obstacles because of dedicated, committed souls who consecrated their lives to its observance and perpetuation.  Let us rededicate and anoint ourselves to the Divine mission of being a Kingdom of Priests and a Holy Nation.

Shabbat Shalom