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Vayakhel(Exodus 35:1-38:20)

A Matter of How You Use It

This week's parsha tells of God's instruction to make a copper washbasin for the Tabernacle (Exodus 30:17).

Now let's understand: The Jews were out wandering in the desert. From where would they possibly obtain enough copper to make the washbasin?

Rashi explains that the basin was made from copper mirrors that had been melted down. (Copper was a reflective substance suitable for use as a mirror.) And where did these copper mirrors come from? They were donated by Jewish women who used these mirrors in Egypt in order to beautify themselves and to romance their husbands!

Now once Moses found out what the mirrors had previously been used for, he was hesitant to use them for such a holy purpose in the Tabernacle. And what was God's response? "Use them. These mirrors are beloved to Me."

You see, in Egypt, Pharaoh was trying to kill all the Jewish babies, and the women knew that if the Jewish people stopped having children, Pharaoh would win. So when the women used these mirrors to romance their husbands, their motivations were pure and noble.

What we see from here is that there is nothing inherently good or bad in the world - it's all a matter of how you use it. The Internet is a prime example: There are obviously unsavory uses for the Internet, or you can use the Internet to study Torah.

By using something for a positive purpose, we can actually elevate and sanctify that little corner of our world. Which, after all, is the purpose for our being here in the first place!

Published: March 19, 2006

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