This week's portion Vayakhel is almost identical in content to the portion we read just a few weeks ago - Terumah. Vayakhel discusses the construction of the Tabernacle which is also described in Terumah. Since the Torah is perfect, and there would not have redundant text due to a mere oversight, there is a deeper meaning to be found within this repetition. Based on the sequence of readings, we see that these portions repeat after being separated by the portion of Ki Tisa which featured the Sin of the Golden Calf. The message to us is that although the Israelites were directed to construct the Tabernacle previously in the Torah, they needed to re-hear and go through the process again after the Sin of the Golden Calf. In order to make sure the consciousness of the people was pure and correct when they built the Tabernacle, the Israelites needed to make this connection after atoning for the sin and following Moses' delivery of the second set of Tablets as discussed last week in Ki Tisa. The Zohar goes further and suggests that the first time Moses provided direction and asked for contributions to build the Tabernacle, he asked the entire nation of 3 million people in the desert. This second time he only asked the 600,000 Israelites. The smaller group did not include the Erev Rav - a group of people (mixed multitude of Egyptians) with negative consciousness and the power of having hatred for no reason. This second time around, the Erev Rav and the associated consciousness was separated from the others, allowing for a higher level of consciousness to be injected into the building of the Tabernacle. Through this we learn the importance of surrounding ourselves with positive people and positive energy in order to avoid temptation and negativity that may prevent us from becoming our highest selves. The same way the Israelites were provided a second opportunity to build the Tabernacle, when we fall in our day-to-day lives, we are often provided with similar opportunities to exercise our free will and to be proactive in order to achieve a better result.
We read both in Vayakhel and the similar portion of Terumah, that when the people were asked to give for the construction of the Tabernacle, it was to be "from the heart". In Terumah it says "from each man whose heart prompts him to give" and in Vayakhel it says "everyone who was willing and whose heart moved him". We learn here the important lesson that when someone gives from the heart, it is without ego or calculation associated with the mind. Only when we give freely with a generous heart do we receive the spiritual benefit from giving or tithing. When we are conscious that our sharing brings blessings to both the giver and the recipient, we activate the power of blessing and protection. Conversely, the Zohar states that when we give from empty-handed consciousness or in vain, it is as if we never gave at all and the spirit of holiness is not drawn down into our lives.
This week's portion of Vayakhel teaches us that we must always have the proper consciousness when taking on important tasks - like building the Tabernacle. Thankfully when we fall, or fail in our efforts, we often get presented with another opportunity to make it right.