top of page
  • Writer's pictureEve Was Right

22. When Do We Need God's Help?

Updated: Apr 8

We're ready to replace God-centric morality with a moral code centered on humanity.

Parshah Vayakhel

TL;DR of the Text

Major Themes

  • Israel’s clean slate

  • We get credit for our good deeds, not God

  • Our innate generosity

*Important attribution note: All quotes listed in this article are credited to the Artscroll Stone Edition Chumash. Here is an Extremely Clear Citation so I don’t get in trouble: Nosson Scherman, Hersh Goldwurm, Avie Gold, & Meir Zlotowitz. (2015). The Chumash: the Torah, Haftaros and Five Megillos. Mesorah Publications, Ltd.

This section begins by repeating the content of previous sections. The Torah chooses what to repeat carefully, so there must be a reason behind the decision. The section directly follows the episode with the Golden Calf. The Torah repeats itself because Israel was getting a clean slate. It said, “OK, let’s get back to where we left off and try again.”

Clip of Big Brother Australia. A woman and a man are seated on a couch and the woman tells the man emphatically, with much hand gesturing, "It is a clean slate."

Exodus 35:21-22, 29*

“Every man whose heart inspired him came; and everyone whose spirit motivated him brought the portion of hashem for the work of the Tent of Meeting, for all its labor and for the sacred vestments. The men came with the women; everyone whose heart motivated him brought bracelets, noserings, rings, body ornaments…the Children of Israel brought a free-willed offering to Hashem.”

The passage above paints quite a lovely picture of all of Israel coming together to make God’s house.

Exodus 35:30-34*

“Moses said to the Children of Israel, ‘See, Hashem has proclaimed by name, Bezalel, son of Uri son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. He filled him with Godly spirit, with wisdom, insight, and knowledge, and with every craft…He gave him the ability to teach, him and Oholiab.”

God had many other options for how to build His Sanctuary, and he could have selected one exalting Him instead of members of Israel. He could have used a miracle, for example. Instead, His method demonstrated that the whole point of life on Earth is for us to accomplish amazing things.

This begs the question, when is it helpful for us to be aware of God’s help? I’m not talking about the atheist or agnostic version of this question which doubts whether God is helping us at all or if God even exists. I obviously believe in God, albeit a very different version of God than any of our religions profess.

Having grown up in religion, I remember everyone advocating the idea that we should practice self-erasure in the face of God’s greatness. “I am nothing, everything I accomplish is because of You,” etc.

How interesting that such a clearly untrue statement is also one of the only beliefs shared by many of Earth’s religions. The very existence of both good and bad religious people disproves it entirely. We are responsible for our actions, and we get the credit for our good choices.

If we think of the spiritual realm as a kind of command center whose job is to provide unseen coordination to the lives of people on Earth, to help us learn our lessons and walk our path, then yes, technically, logistically, the things happening in our lives are a result of God’s actions, in the same way that you go to work because of a car. A car enables you to get to work, but you are the one with the agency. You act.

Having a baseline awareness and understanding of God and the spiritual realm helps us make sense of our lives and the world around us, but beyond that, our decision making process should be centered around humanity.

Exodus 36:4-5*

“All the wise people came… and they said to Moses, as follows, ‘The people are bringing more than enough for the labor of the work that Hashem has commanded to perform.’”

People are generous by nature; when we’re safe and have enough to meet our needs, generosity flows from us naturally.

*Again with the Extremely Clear Citation so I don’t get in trouble: Nosson Scherman, Hersh Goldwurm, Avie Gold, & Meir Zlotowitz. (2015). The Chumash : the Torah, Haftaros and Five Megillos. Mesorah Publications, Ltd.



bottom of page