Be the First to Contribute!

As the Mishkan is being dedicated, we must take note of the fact that all of B’nai Yisrael made contributions to help build it.


When the Torah was given and the covenant was made, Dvarim 29:9-10, all were included, not just the wealthiest classes:“…the heads of the tribes, the elders, the officers, all of the men of Israel: the little ones, the wives, the stranger…, from the hewer of wood to the drawer of water…”


The Midrash in Bamidbar Rabba asks why the nesiim (princes) only brought their contributions after everyone else, as it says in Shmot 35:27: “The princes brought the Shoham stones and the stones for the settings for the Ephod and the Breastplate”. What took them so long?


The princes may have been disappointed that Moshe asked the nation as a whole to bring contributions, not specifically singling them out. They figured that they would wait until everyone else made contributions and then they would fill in whatever else was necessary. However, B’nai Yisrael were so excited about being able to contribute that they actually brought everything that was needed. The princes were disappointed that it was too late to contribute to the Mishkan and therefore they helped contribute to the garments of the Kohen Gadol (High Priest).


Since the princes waited too long to make their contribution, a letter was taken off of their name. The pasuk says “v’hanisim” without the “yud” rather than “v’hanisiim” to show that they were remiss.


We can learn from here that it is always best to be the first to contribute and not wait until it is too late.


How many opportunities do we miss out on because we don’t jump at the chance to participate as soon as we are asked to?


Often, people who are called to be counted for a Shiva minyan say: “when you are up to nine, I will be the tenth man”. The problem is that if everyone has the same excuse, then how are they ever going to get up to ten? If each of those people said: “yes, you can count on me”, then we would already be up to ten.


The princes learned their lesson. After the Mishkan was built, they were the first ones to bring the Korbanot (sacrifices).


The next time that you are invited to participate in a mitzvah or make a contribution, don’t wait until it is too late! Be the first to contribute!