Don Isaac Abravanel, sometimes spelled Abarbanel (1437-1508) was a seminal Jewish thinker, scholar, and prolific Biblical
commentator. Exodus 35 enshrines the greatness of the Jewish nation, recording their can-do spirit and
generosity. Bible students will learn of the outpouring of volunteerism that inspired them in a most holy task:
building the Tabernacle.

“And Moses assembled all the congregation of the Children of
Israel…And Moses spoke…take you from among you an offering unto
God, whosoever is of a willing heart. Let him bring…gold and silver and

In this chapter, Abravanel explains how the nation gallantly rose to the occasion, driven by a single
purpose – to serve God and sedulously craft for Him a sacred structure in which to house His divine

When it came to financing and assembling the Tabernacle, Moses understood that a sacred enterprise
of this nature, could not come about through coercion. Accordingly, the prophet nixed the notion of
sending fundraisers door to door, tent to tent. Instead, Moses appealed to “whosoever is of a willing

Abravanel explains that there were two types of donors. One group brought to Moses’s tent “gold and
silver and copper” not to mention an array of other valuables (fine linen, goat’s hair, ram’s skins, acacia
timber, oils, spices, and precious stones).

A second category of Hebrews brought their minds and imagination, pledging to do “the work of the
Tent of Meeting, and for all the service thereof… And all the women who were wise-hearted did spin
with their hands…the fine linen.” Abravanel notes that some of the artisans also donated raw material
for the Maker’s earthly abode.

Regarding the craftsmen who assembled the Tabernacle, Abravanel makes another point. We are not
speaking about master plumbers or carpenters. To state the obvious, Egyptian taskmasters had not
offered training courses and career advancement to their Hebrew servants. Thus, the newly-freed men
and women lacked for skills, emerging from Egypt wholly untrained.

But what the Hebrew men and women lacked in skill set they made up for in grit. “Whosoever is of a
willing heart” alluded to an indomitable spirit. The Jews promised Moses they would get the job done,
precisely as God commanded. A promise kept.

See Abravanel’s World for the fuller discussion of the behind-the-scenes making of the Tabernacle.