I sound like a mad announcer at the Olympics, don't I? Truly to the gold medallist goes the glory. The book deal and the cereal endorsements are his by virtue of his virtue. Silver and bronze sure beat not placing at all, but given the choice between, say, coming home with a bunch of exclusively gold medals hanging round your neck or ending the games with samples of each, who wouldn't take the first option?

Answer: G‑d.

in this week's Parshah we read how the Jews were commanded to donate the raw materials to help build the Mishkan--the portable Temple that accompanied them on their desert perambulations.

There was sufficient interest and excitement in the new building project (tax-deductible?) to permit them to design the most luxurious of buildings, replete with the most costly and deluxe fittings. They had looted sufficient quantities of gold on their exit from Egypt to allow them to proceed with the construction without having to debase G‑d's home with any baser metal than glorious gold. However they were commanded to bring offering of variegated metals: "Gold and silver and copper..." (Exodus 25:3).

I don't get it. Logically, when building a dwelling place for G‑d why not use the best and only the best?

I would like to think that it was precisely because the Mishkan was to become the temporal home for G‑d was it necessary to utilize all manner of materials in its construction. Just like metal, people too fall into different categories and sub-classes: There are the "silver" among us, those who were born to greatness, never having been tempted, never fallen. Quicksilver in inclination and sucking on their silver-spoon since birth. Others are "gold": By their exertions and efforts they manage to overcome all challenges and breast the tape secure in their achievements and accomplishments.

The lowly "copper" represents us poor sinners. Occasionally well-intentioned but dragged down by the weaknesses of the flesh. Sons of toil buried beneath tons of soil. How tempting to flee the field, to concede in despair and leave the building of G‑d's sanctuary to the spiritually successful "gold" and "silver."

G‑d goes the trifecta. The efforts of the righteous are not sufficient; G‑d demands all his creatures join in His building campaign. The lowest denominator is an integral and indispensable cog in the construction effort of the Temple and, by extension, bringing G‑d into the world and justifying all creation.

When recruiting for the Shule I sometimes encounter the same resistance. Many are worried that "I'm not religious enough to fit in," or that "I don't want to seem hypocritical and, since I'm not ready to go all-the-way, I shouldn't even start the trip."

Judaism doesn't see it that way. G‑d doesn't agree. It took all metals to build the Temple and it takes all of us to build a Shule. All that is demanded from anyone is an open mind, the commitment to show up, and the resolve to contribute to the building of the community.