Written by: Rabbi Avrohom S. Moller
In the past few weeks, the Torah discusses the construction of the Mishkan (Tabernacle). In this week’s Parsha, Pekudai, we learn that the Mishkan was dedicated on Rosh Chodesh Nissan. However, the Midrash explains that although the dedication occurred on Rosh Chodesh Nissan, the Mishkan was actually ready to be used Chanukah time, more than three months earlier. The question then arises: Why was it necessary for B’nei Yisroel to wait an additional three months to use the Mishkan?
The commentaries explain that the building of the Mishkan is a symbol of Hashem’s forgiveness to B’nei Yisroel for the sin of the Golden Calf. Close examination of the construction of the Golden Calf reveals that its cause was due to the B’nei Yisroel’s impatience. When Moshe did not come down from the mountain at the expected time, the B’nei Yisroel panicked. Their need to have a physical liaison between Hashem and themselves propelled them to act impetuously resulting in the Golden Calf. Hindsight teaches us had B’nei Yisroel taken a few moments to step back, reflect, and think things through, a different conclusion might have ensued. They could have come to the realization that they should have considered the consequences of their actions before acting so quickly.
Hashem established a three month waiting period to teach B’nei Yisroel an important lesson. He makes them wait to emphasize that it is not enough to acknowledge the sin, but in order for it to be a true learning experience, it is necessary to determine the problem’s root and learn from that. As parents, it behooves us to teach this valuable lesson to our children. We must model reflective behavior and not jump to conclusions, and when we do, we must first understand the cause of the problem in order to solve it completely.