Biblical gems are found everywhere in Israel, even in economic journals
Slipped in among the stories on the real estate market, the foreign currency exchange, unemployment and the like, it is not uncommon to find articles dealing with biblical subjects in Israeli economic periodicals. For example, an item in the March issue of the Hebrew economic journal Calcalist describes in modern terms how the Tabernacle built by the children of Israel in the Sinai wilderness, was financed. When Moses asked the people to donate their possessions for the building of the sanctuary, it was the women who contributed the most, both by donating their gold and silver jewelry and by using their skill as weavers.
The article’s author, Gil Heusman, describes it as a “female initiative.” Here are some excerpts from the article, which reflects Israel’s unique role as the People of the Book:
Following the people’s sin with the Golden Calf, Moses commanded that the Tabernacle be built. To accomplish this, he called upon the people to provide the material. What happened then? The women, being proactive, initiated knitting projects without being asked. The result was precious textiles suitable for use in the holy Tabernacle. As we read: “And the skilled women spun with their hands and brought what they had spun—blue, purple or scarlet yarn or fine linen” [Exodus 35:25].
The men were upset by this and appealed to Moses: “So all the skilled workers who were doing all the work on the sanctuary left what they were doing and said to Moses, ‘The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the Lord commanded to be done’”[Exodus 36:4-5].
In response, Moses appealed indirectly to the women while addressing the entire congregation. “So Moses issued a command, and a proclamation was circulated throughout the camp, saying, ‘Let no man or woman any longer perform work for the contributions of the sanctuary.’ Thus the people were restrained from bringing any more. For the material they had was sufficient and more than enough for all the work, to perform it” [Exodus 36:6-7]. One might question what the real intentions of the women were. The men seemed to think that their offerings were aimed at raising their status in the eyes of the nation. The men saw this as a threat, so they persuaded Moses to put a stop to it.
Another possibility is that the women were not concerned about their status in the community but simply wanted to be productive. Wandering in the desert did not allow many opportunities for creativity. The building of the Tabernacle presented the women with the chance to contribute something of value and to use their inherent skills.
Perhaps this explains why they were so easily convinced to participate in the construction of the Golden Calf. That, too, was an opportunity to be creative, but in a negative way. The construction of the Tabernacle, on the other hand, provided an opportunity to participate in a godly endeavor.
By Aviel Schneider – israeltoday – electronic issue june 2012