Nava was busily going through her drawer when her sister Rachel walked into the bedroom. She took one glance at the room and exclaimed: "Really, Nava, 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!"

Nava shrugged. "So what if I don't use these things? I still like having them."

Is Nava 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 G‑d has given us, it's different.

This week's Torah portion teaches us about having, and about using what we have.

This week's portion is called Pekudei, which means accounting. We read that Moses makes a reckoning of all the gold, silver and brass that was donated to the Tabernacle. Then he checks to see how these materials were used, making an account of all the 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 using our talents to do good deeds. Just like Moses 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 do good deeds and mitzvot — just as Moses accounted for all the different ways those materials were used.

G‑d 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 be better people and do G‑d's will.