The Kohen's Clothing
Parshat Pekudei is a strange one. It details all different types of work that were done in preparation for the proper service in the completed Mishkan, especially work done by the Kohanim in general, and the Kohen Gadol in particular. The first half of the parsha goes through the clothing that the Kohen Gadol would wear and attests to the fact that "they" made them as "they" were commanded to. Then, the text speaks of the parts and utensils of the Mishkan and points out that (in 39:32) "all the work...was completed and the children of Israel had done everything that Hashem commanded Moses."
"They," is referring to the children of Israel. That must have been odd feeling, slaving away to make tools and clothing that none of them would ever be able to wear or use, as they were set aside for others, the Kohanim. That must have been frustrating pouring creative skill into things that would become forbidden to them. Why did Hashem have the children of Israel make all of these objects instead of making the Kohanim responsible for their own needs (or have the items crafted miraculously)? Was Hashem trying to inspire jealousy in people? It's hard to believe Hashem would want to cause strife amongst his children!
Perhaps Hashem wanted each person working to feel like they themselves were contributing part of the Mishkan. Instead of the Kohanim doing everything and being the only part of the Mishkan process, Hashem wanted all of Klal Yisrael to contribute to something that all of them would benefit from. Every person considering staying next year, and those who have already made the decision, whether to enlist in the IDF, do sheirut leumi, or go to university here, is contributing to the Jewish State. We are all doing our service to add to the Jewish State, the only place created just for our people, which we benefit from in so many ways, every day.
Maddie Rosen is a Here Next Year Ambassador.