TORAH PORTION - VAYAKHEL/PEKUDEI - WEEK OF MARCH 11, 2012

Accounting is not a very exciting activity, but it is a very important foundation for any business, or that matter, any endeavor. Knowing that one is accountable keeps us honest and above reproach.

This week’s parshios are really Parshas Accounting. The first Jewish accountant was Moishe (Moses), our teacher. He counted every shekel (coin) that was donated to creating the Tabernacle and gave a reckoning to the entire Jewish people.

Why designate an entire section of the Torah to the collection and audit of a Building Campaign?

The answer is that G-dliness and spirituality can only be built on truth. The Talmud relates that G-d’’s signet ring is emes (truth). G-d is the absolute truth. To relate to G-d, one has to be in touch with truth. The further one is from honesty - putting truth into actions - the more distant one is from Hashem.

Let me tell you a story you might have heard from me before. A newly religious woman in Jerusalem had a sister who was deeply involved with a guru in India. Wishing that she could get her sister out of the cult which engulfed her mind and her spirit, she was excited to hear that her sister would stop to visit her on her way back from America to India. She looked at the date that her sister would be visiting and tried to find if there would be an inspiring class on Jewish spirituality or philosophy. To her disappointment, there was only one class going on that day. It was a course on the Jewish laws of returning lost objects. She decided to encourage her sister to go with her to at least some Torah classes. It was better than just more shopping, she thought. So, they went and her sister was not that impressed. She kept to her timetable and returned to India that week.

When she got back, she took a walk with her guru to discuss spiritual topics. Suddenly, she saw a wallet on the ground. She opened it and saw the name of the owner and also saw that the wallet contained $10,000 in U.S. currency. "Wow," she said to her guru. He looked at the wallet and exclaimed, "Our deity is really looking out for us. We needed $10,000 to make repairs to the Ashram and here it is - exactly $10,000". "Hold on there", she tells the guru, "there’s I.D. in the wallet. I just heard a Rabbi in Israel talking about the Divine Commandment to return lost objects. You can’t take that money; we have to return it to the owner." The guru said, "The deity has shown us the way and don’t give me any of your Jewish ethics."

The woman saw that truth was not the basis of this guru’s philosophy. She knew that Judaism and its concept of G-d, Torah and Spirituality is built on emes - truth. Therefore, the foundation of G-d’s presence in our world, the Tabernacle, was predicated on a truthful audit signed by Moishe, CPA - Certified Prophetic Accountant.

Good Shabbos,
Rabbi Shlomo Porter

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