“Let’s get an earlier start on Pesach cleaning this year,” Naomi’s mother told her. “I’d like you to sort out your desk drawer this afternoon. It’s cluttered with so many items and gadgets that it looks like you’re planning to open a store!” she added with a chuckle.

Naomi smiled sheepishly. Her mother was right, she was a real collector. She saved all kinds of things. Everyone in the family had gotten used to it — sometimes they even appreciated it. Whenever there was anything in the house that nobody needed, but no one wanted to throw away, someone would always say: “Let’s give it to Naomi!”

As Naomi was busily going through her drawer, her sister Simi walked into the bedroom. She took one glance at the room and exclaimed: “Really, Naomi, why do you keep all that stuff? I never see you use that fold-up ruler or those colored wall tacks. And you never wear any of those ponytail holders!”

Naomi shrugged. “So what if I don’t use these things? I still like having them.”

* * *

Is Naomi right about unused rulers and wall tacks? Maybe yes and maybe no. Some people like having things, even when they don’t use them. That’s okay, when those things are ordinary, day-to-day things, but when it comes to the abilities, talents, and skills that HaShem has given us, it’s different. This week’s parshah teaches us about having, and about using what we have.

Pekudei means accounting. In Parshas Pekudei, Moshe Rabbeinu makes a reckoning of all the gold, silver and brass that was donated to the Mishkan. Then he checks to see how these materials were used, making an account of all the keilim (utensils) that were made from these precious metals.

We should also make a reckoning from time to time, and think about the way we are serving HaShem. Just like Moshe first made a reckoning of the materials that were collected, we should start by making an account of the different strengths we have. Then we should check to see how we have been using those strengths to serve HaShem — just as Moshe accounted for all the different ways those materials were used.

HaShem has blessed each one of us with many abilities, talents, powers and skills. We must account for everything we have been given, knowing what we can do and making sure that we are indeed using all our abilities to serve HaShem.

(Adapted from Sichos Shabbos Parshas Pekudei, 5749)