The Giving People
"The People of Israel give when solicited," says the Midrash. "When solicited for the Golden Calf they gave and when solicited for the Sanctuary they gave."
The contributions to the building of the Sanctuary described in the opening sentences of this weeks Torah portion, say our Sages, served as an atonement for the contributions made for the creation of the Gold Calf.
Jews are, without a doubt, great givers. But for which causes?
When one compares the vast amount of Jewish money contributed to all sorts of secular cultural causes and the sums that go for Jewish education, he can only heave a sigh about misdirected philanthropy. It seems absurd that in an age of such affluence yeshivot, seminaries and day schools in Eretz Yisrael and throughout the world should be facing such a struggle for economic survival. No one is suggesting that Jewish gold today is going for the creation of an idolatrous calf. But should "golden museums", "golden zoos" and "golden parks" take priority over the "Golden Sanctuary" which only Torah education can provide for Israel forever?