Life-Changing Idea

Parshat Ki Tisa ended with the herculean effort of Moshe to procure forgiveness on behalf of the Jewish people. Moshe experiences an unprecedented prophetic vision as God’s glory is revealed to the maximum extent capable of being perceived by a mortal person. The experience is so transcendent that Moshe’s face is literally shining afterword.

Yet, Moshe knows that Judaism isn’t a religion of amazing individuals, but of amazing communities. He realizes that all of his individual accolades are meaningless in comparison to the well-being of the nation he is overseeing. That is why Parshat Vayakhel begins with the word “Vayakhel” which means “And he gathered”. Moshe brought together all of the Jewish people to symbolize that ultimately it is the group that matters and it is shared achievement that sustains religion.