Parshat Pekudei 5771: Paradigm of Accountability Standards for National Leadership

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. According to “The Midrash Says”, comments were heard such as:

“Of late, Ben Amram’s neck is very fat! ….No wonder; he is in charge of all that money for the Mishkan!”

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 paradigm of oversight: a Delloite-Touche CPA-like audit.

The irony here is that when the jewelry and gold were collected for making the Chait HaEigel, no accountability or transparency, no source and allocation of donations was demanded of those who compelled the Eigel. However, when the donations came in and the Mishkan was constructed many demanded and expected such accountability and transparency from Moshe Rabbeinu.

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

Moshe is, for all times, 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.

If only the modern-day “leaders” of Medinat Yisrael — from the prime minister and his cabinet; 120 Chavrei Knesset, even and perhaps particularly the so-called “religious” alignments, were to even begin to tip the scales toward moral integrity, fiscal accountability and transparency and caring for one’s fellow Jew as himself, then each of them would have been no files opened by the Attorney General’s office or be under “police(sic) investigation” — oxymoron, or under investigation by the state comptroller. And no one would conjure up laws permitting the legalized ripping off of one’s fellow Jews of their homes and possessions at leftist-politically agendized court sanctioned legalized gunpoint without proper lawful and transparent restitution. And if we were a moral, ethical society, police would be paridigm of such ethicacy and morality such that aggrieved victims of domestic beatings, muggings and robberies would not be compelled by the “police” to have their fingerprints and DNA taken while the criminal domestic abuser or thief walks — as free as a bird, thus free to continue mooching off the community with immunity to attempted actions by communal leaders.

The point of our Parsha, as well as that of the previous parsha Vayakhel, seems that the nation is in dire need of leaders — both on the national and local levels including communal leadership and the Rabbanut, as well as police, educators, and judiciary as well as political (both of which currently appear as one-and-the-same with the aforementioned) — who would set the tone, model and standard for honesty, ethicacy, compassion and the good and welfare of the masses. When there is this standard of selfless morality among the leadership of Medinat Yisrael, there will inevitably be emulation by a unified Am (the people) who would then treat each other honestly and with loving compassion in their domestic, business and monetary dealings as well as in all levels of interaction Bein Adom L’Chaveiro.

May we, the B’nai Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole — be totally restituted for all that was stolen from them at leftist-agendized, supreme court legalized gunpoint, that our dear brother Jonathan Pollard, captive Gilad Shalit and the other MIAs be liberated alive returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem. May we have the courage to prevent the eviction of Jews from their homes and to prevent the handing of Jewish land over to enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. May 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 to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima — the Ultimate Redemption bim hay v’yameinu — speedily, in our time”, as Dov Shurin sings; “Ki Karov Yom Hashem V’Kol HaGoyim” — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!

Gutten Shabbos Mevorchin!

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.