Vayakhel-Pekudei: “Take Note!” -The root p-k-d is used in the Torah when God "takes note" (Genesis
21:1) or calls to account (Exodus 34:7)
Taking inventory appears to us to be an impersonal task. As it
relates to the building of the tabernacle it is a record of the amount and type of items used in its construction. Jumping ahead to the
book of Numbers, the commentator Sforno points out that the inventory of the same items found in Pekudei is presented differently: you shall list by
name the objects (Numbers 4:32).
…each one of them (the articles counted) was worthy to be
considered as important and to be called by its private (individual)
name, not only as part of a generic group (category). This is
certainly justified (regarding) each one of the holy vessels…
(Sforno on Exodus 38:21),
If within a category of inventory the individual item is not lost, how
much more so with a human being than with an inanimate object.
We often worry that society treats us as just another number,
classifying us by common denominators. Not so with God.
Society objectifies, God individualizes. With this comes the notion of God "keeping tabs" on each one of us; while it may make us uneasy, it should be comforting.
At the beginning of the Book of Exodus we were treated as objects in
Pharaoh's inventory. God's redemption restored our humanity. To
Pharaoh we were numbers in generic categories; to God we are holy
vessels with individual names. This transformation carries a
responsibility that should be used for the benefit of community and
for service to God. Isn't it time we each took inventory of our
abilities and put them to use for a holy purpose?