In the opening verse of this week’s Torah portion, we read how Moses assembled the entire community in order to hear the instructions for building the Mishkan, the movable sanctuary in the desert. The instructions are very detailed and there many difficult objects to be built. In fact, the only thing missing from the description is the complaining that often accompanies Moses’ commands.
Perhaps because this instruction came on the heels of the sin of the Golden Calf, or perhaps because there was a clear and understandable goal, there is a noticeable absence of murmuring, grumbling, and complaining on the part of the Israelites. They all set upon their tasks with energy and aplomb.
In this there is an important lesson, that a good way to recover from a difficult experience is to apply yourself to creating something real, useful, and beautiful. The focus necessary to make such an object forces out extraneous thoughts of the recent past, and maintains your energy in the anticipation of completing a desired task. The action of creating keep our mind alert, our thoughts positive, and our sense of hope pointing to a brighter future.
Perhaps most importantly, the Israelites went about their jobs as a community. Just as the building of the Golden Calf almost drove them apart, the building of the Mishkan brought them all back together. May we all be blessed with such a communal success!