In this week's Torah reading, we read about the Mishkan, the portable Tabernacle, the Sanctuary that pre-dated the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. A huge amount of gold, silver and precious gems went into the construction of the Mishkan, its vessels, and the vestments of the Kohen Gadol, the High Priest. This wealth came from the treasure the Jews brought out of Egypt, reparations for their decades of slavery. Indeed, G‑d promised Abraham that after his children's slavery they would leave their land of captivity birechush gadol, with great wealth.

Possessions, however, are not an end in themselves. Indeed, if anything, a person whose life revolves around them becomes a slave to his or her property. We can end up right back in an Egypt of our own making.

We take the gold and silver we salvaged from Egypt and make of them a MishkanIn this week's Torah reading, though, the whole issue comes into focus: We take the gold and silver we salvaged from Egypt and make of them a Mishkan—a dwelling place for G‑d.

Since the Torah is eternal and personal, there is clear message here to each of us: G‑d grants us physical possessions; we transform them into vessels for G‑d's presence.

When G‑d grants us a house, we fill it with Torah study and Shabbat and holiday guests. The bricks and mortar then become a home for G‑d.

When G‑d grants us wealth, we use it for charity in all its guises. The effort we put into our professions then becomes effort put into sustaining the poor, the study of Torah, and the spreading of Torah to those who thirst for it, but do not even yet know that this is what they are missing. Our mundane activity in the market place becomes a vehicle for G‑d's will.

When G‑d gives us wisdom and knowledge, we use it to teach Torah to ourselves, our families and others. Our human mind then becomes a place where G‑d's mind dwells.

When G‑d gives us charisma and social skills, we use them to inspire our fellows to grow in their attachment to G‑d, and we organize a community for to do good things and holy things. We have then made our soul interaction a network powered by the Divine.

As the Maggid of Mezeritch said: "G‑d gives us physical material. We then take the physical and make it G‑dly."