Making Preparations

Exodus 35:1-36:7

This section begins with a repetition of the commandment to observe the Sabbath day on the seventh day of each week. It continues with Moses instructing the people to donate any materials they may have, which would be suitable for constructing the Tabernacle in accordance with the instructions he had received from God. As the Israel Bible points out, the Tabernacle was intended to foster a deep connection between God and the people. Those who donated were moved by this lofty purpose. The people were generous to a fault, and eventually Moses had to command them to stop bringing gifts.


Moses asked for more than just material donations. He called upon those whose hearts moved them to take part in the construction of the Tabernacle, as well. The women wove fabric and the men served as artisans under the direction of Bezalel and his assistant, Oholiab. God filled their hearts with the wisdom needed to do the work.


Virtual Classroom Discussion

The text states that “every man” who was motivated (and from the rest of the story, it is apparent that is most, if not all, the people of Israel) brought what was needed for the Tabernacle, but singles out the leaders of the community as having brought the stones for the breastplate and Ephod. Why do you think they were singled out, and the details of their contribution mentioned specifically?

Comments ( 8 )

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  • Jan Freed

    It seems a very natural thing, that the leaders would bring the precious stones, the finishing touches. We expect more from our leaders, right?

  • Angela B

    Thank you all. I agree with Tonia, Diana and Kenneth.

  • Alexander

    By singling out the leaders of each community this could be seen as Hashems way of adding his reverence to their position within the tribe by highlighting their decision making powers during such an important project thereby passing a feeling of confidence in their leadership down through the tribe but this is just my theory and may be total nonsense, shalom.

  • I really like the ideas brought here. Rashi, the classic commentator from the 11th century, brings an idea brought down by Rebbe Natan. He explains that the princes decided they would bring their contribution last, and bring whatever was lacking. However, the people were so excited about contributing to the Tabernacle, that there was nothing lacking, and so the princes brought the stones. They apparently learnt their lesson, and when it came time to donate for the alter, they were first to contribute (see Numbers 7:2).

    • Angela B

      Aliza, a correction on Numbers 7:2, this was a different offering they were bringing, separate from the offering of the stones that they brought prior to the making of the tabernacle and priestly items.

  • Kenneth Osterman

    Though it is said the rulers brought the stones, it appeals to me it was the people who provided the representative stone. The rulers represent their respective tribe and stones are engraved with the name of the respective tribes. If they were good rulers truly representing the people, they would have in some way involved their respective tribe in the selection of an appropriate stone.

  • Diana Brown

    Well, the way I would explain this is akin to a kitchen shower I am planning to attend this next week, as the Lord wills. The closer you are to the bride and groom, the more costly the gift. Why? Price doesn’t really matter to the couple, it is the thought that counts. But for the giver, and the leaders in this case, the more you show your heart in your gift, the more you bless the bride and bridegroom with your gift. Am I on the right track?

  • Tonia

    I could be completely wrong on this…but my thinking is that each ruler of each tribe would have been given wisdom by God to select the finest of stones to be set for the ephod and the breastplate…who would have been better to do the job than the leaders.

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