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Got Talent?

Friday, 1 March, 2019 - 9:19 am

There are so many talent shows nowadays that it’s hard to keep up. Win and you receive instant fame. Plus, you might even get a shot at lucrative earnings.

The beauty of discovering an unknown talent certainly has its virtues. But, overall, are talent shows helping society more than harming us?


In this week’s parsha Vayakhel we learn about a special talent. A group of women donated goat hairs for the covering and curtains of the Mishkan. However, the Torah tells us they spun these hairs in a unique fashion. While the hair was still attached to the goats, they spun the hairs! This produced a superior finished product due to the vibrancy of these live goat hairs.

The Talmud teaches that this was a very exclusive talent. In order not to violate the Torah’s prohibition against animal cruelty, great care was taken and immense skill was required. The women wished to contribute the absolute best to Hashem’s home, so they utilized their talents for this.

Although this is a cool detail in the construction of the Tabernacle, it seems superfluous for the Torah to share. What’s the message?


These exemplary women didn’t simply wonder what would be a great addition to the home of G-d. Rather, they looked at their own selves and asked:

What is the ultimate gift that I can give Hashem? I have unique talents that Hashem has gifted me with. I must not let these gifts go to waste. The most useful application of these talents is not simply for my own benefit and self-aggrandizement. Rather, they must be utilized to fulfill my G-dly mission on earth.

This attitude is what motivated these artistic women.

And, it is the answer to today’s obsession with talent as an end unto itself. G-d-given talents are not here simply to promote our own egos. They are a gift from G-d, meant to serve a holy purpose of bettering our world.

We can learn a talent or two from our ancestors. They ought to be our real role models.

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