Good InvestmentFebruary 19, 2013 - 5:00 am
“Tell all the skilled workers to whom I have given wisdom in such matters that they are to make garments for Aaron, for his consecration, so he may serve me as priest.”—Exodus 28:3
The Torah portion for this week, Tetzaveh, is from Exodus 27:20–30:10 and Ezekiel 43:10–27.
These days, there is a lot of talk about making “safe investments.” No one seems to know where to put their money anymore! Everyone is looking for the best return on their investment. Including God.
When God commanded Moses to make priestly garments for Aaron and his sons, who would serve as the nation’s first priests, He specified who He wanted to make them. God didn’t want just anyone making these sacred garments which required very precise work; He wanted the best: “skilled workers to whom I have given wisdom in such matters.” When we translate the verse literally from the original Hebrew, it reads: “skilled workers to whom I have invested with wisdom in such matters.”
The Sages ask: Why is the word “invest” used and what does it mean to invest wisdom? We all know what it means to invest our money, but how does God invest His wisdom?
God invests wisdom the same way that we invest money. The Sages explain that God places in each and every human being a unique kind of wisdom – a talent or ability, a gift. That is God’s investment. What we do with our knowledge, talents, and abilities is His return.
But what happens when an investment fails to produce a return?
When we are young, we discover what we are good at and what we aren’t. By the time we are adults, most of us have figured out what we are best at. But what happens next? Do we use the wisdom that God has invested in us, or do we let it go to waste? Sometimes we think that our talents aren’t that big of a deal, or maybe we worry that pursuing them won’t pay the bills. So we let our God-given wisdom waste away.
The problem is that using our God-given talents isn’t really a choice. It’s an obligation! When God makes an investment, He expects a return! If you placed your money into a bank that didn’t pay any interest on it, would you keep your money there? Certainly not! And when God makes an investment that isn’t producing returns, He reserves the right to divest his assets. When God gives us a gift, we must use it, or else, we may just lose it!
The opposite is also true. When we take the talents and abilities that God has gifted us with and use them well to make the world a better place, God will only add to His investment. God benefits and we benefit – now that’s the ideal investment plan!