Parsha Pekudei 5768: Paradigm Leadership, Accountability, Transparency vs the Revilers in the Camp


by Moshe Burt

Our Parsha Pekudei begins; “These are the accounts of the Mishkan (the Sanctuary), the Mishkan of testimony, which were drawn up on Moshe’s orders …” (Shemos, Perek 38, posuk 21 — Metsudah Linear Chumash, page 579).

In short, Pekudei is the accountant’s parsha, the parsha of crunching the numbers.

The Sefer L’lmod U’Lamed (Parsha Pekudei, pages 97-98) asks what the primary reason was for Moshe’s detailed accounting of the costs of the construction of the Mishkan. The Sages tell that “there were apparently some who suspected that Moshe might have keep some … contributions for his own use.” (L’lmod U’Lamed, page 98).

The Sefer “The Midrash Says” (pages 357-360)notes that Moshe Rabbeinu overheard mutterings among certain people, presumably sinful individuals such as Dasan and Aviram, who cast aspersions upon his (Moshe’s) honesty regarding the allocation of the people’s donations. Therefore, Moshe committed himself to account for the allocation and purpose of everything donated toward the construction of the Mishkan.

“The Midrash Says” (page 357) then relates that not only did Moshe account for all donations, but he “… gave his calculations to a second person, Ithamar Ben Aharon, for verification.” Perhaps this was the first real CPA-like audit.

Moshe Rabbeinu therefore was the model of, and set the standard for accountibility, oversight and transparency of leadership.

He is the prototype of a true Jewish Leader — humble, modest, without desire for self-aggrandizement and self-enrichment. His first and foremost thought was for the welfare and well-being of his nation — the B’nai Yisrael. Moshe Rabbeinu was above corruption and self-enrichment. Nobody owned him as he could not be bought.

But what if these certain people, presumably the same individuals who were the revilers mentioned in Parsha Vayakhel and who murdered the messenger Hur for warning that avodah zora was sacrilege and that those complicit “would later be sorry,” had not muttered about Moshe Rabbeinu claiming alleged possible misappropriation of Mishkan contributions? It seems to this author that Moshe’s honesty, integrity and morality would have compelled him to account for the donations in any case.

If only the modern-day “leaders” of Medinat Yisrael — the prime minister and his cabinet; 120 Chavrei Knesset, even the so-called “religious” alignments, were to even begin to tip the iceberg of moral integrity, fiscal accountability and transparency and caring for one’s fellow Jew as himself, then perhaps each of them would have been no files opened by the Attorney General’s office or be investigated by the state comptroller and no one would conjure up laws permitting the legalized ripping off one’s fellow Jews of their homes and possessions at legalized gunpoint without proper lawful and transparent restitution.

Leaders would set the tone and standard for the emulation by a unified Am (the people) who would then treat each other honestly and with loving compassion in their business and monetary dealings.

But the vast majority of these very modern-day “leaders” choose the path of self-enrichment, self-aggrandizement, self-empowerment and self-indulgence, as they abuse their fellows in very vile physical and psychological ways while projecting onto them, as in their use of words or expressions like disgrace or the termmoral turpitude”, that which they themselves in fact are guilty of.

May we be zocha in this coming year that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole, that our dear brother Jonathan Pollard and the 3 captive Chayalim and the other MIAs be liberated and returned to us and that we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nai Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Yom Hashem V’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bim hay v’yameinu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!

Good Shabbos!

Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.