In this week’s Torah portion, the children of Israel contribute gifts to the building of the Tabernacle, the portable sanctuary in the desert. Overwhelmed with the abundance of giving, the builders let Moses know that the people should stop. That at this point, the children of Israel must practice restraint. The Alshich, a 16th century Biblical commentator elucidates, that it is just as important that when commanded, to stop doing a mitzvah as it is to do a mitzvah. That sometimes the intent of our act is overridden when performed inaccurately or without proper thought or process.
t is a profound lesson. Imagine engaging in bikkur holim (visiting the sick) and overstaying one’s welcome. Or perhaps offering rebuke or criticism in a manner in which the recipient is unable to hear or understand. There are many moments in our lives in which we realize that holding our tongues is a stronger statement and action than pushing forward without humility and understanding. In a world in which we often act and ask forgiveness later, the Torah reminds us to cultivate an intuition as to when we should stop and when we should listen. A little restraint holds the potential to go a very long way. Shabbat Shalom