This weekly Torah portion that will be read in synagogues worldwide this Sat., Feb. 16, ends by informing the reader that "All the utensils of the Mishkan [the mobile tent sanctuary or tabernacle that the Israelites were instructed to build]... and all its pegs, and all the pegs of the court, shall be [made] of copper" (Exodus 27:19).
Would copper pegs be adequately strong to withstand powerful desert storms? Why not pegs of iron that would stand a better chance?
Our answer to this question might be found in Ch. 20:21-22, that describe the required fashion for making an altar of stone for God; it cannot be built "of hewn stones" lest chiseling these stones was done with an iron instrument, and a chisel upon the altar would "profane it".
A chisel made of iron would symbolize instruments of war but the altar stones could not tolerate this thought as it would contradict the Torah's injunction (in Deuteronomy 27:5): "And when you shall build an altar there to the Lord your God, an altar of stones on which you have not used an iron tool," there would be only one option: using non-hewed stones for the altar. It would be a revolting idea that the altar in the service of God through which Man seeks to lengthen his life if only by imbuing it with significance and purpose would be worked on with tools made of iron, a material that shortens life in time of violence or war.
Indeed, the prophetic reading that follows this weekly Torah reading informs us that when King Solomon had his Jerusalem Temple built the chiseling of the "huge blocks of choice stone" was done at the place of their being quarried far from the Temple's site (1K 5:31). The Bible also informs us that God disqualified King David from building the Temple himself because he "shed so much blood."
The message herein is unmistakable. The religion of Israel -- though not pacifistic and upholding the responsibility for self-defense -- must not otherwise be used for inciting for the injury or for hurting anyone, whether physically or socially (by discrimination, denial of essential human rights, or murder perpetrated even through public humiliation of another fellow).
Engaging in such activities would contradict God's word.
Indeed, even the holy ark designated as the abode of the two tablets of the Law would only be made of acadia wood, a tree that does not yield edible fruit. Why waste good fruit tree wood on God's holy ark?
In other words, before you donate to your synagogue, church, mosque or temple, donate first from your fruit to the welfare of people in need; God has no interest in an ark that could potentially deprive a poor man from fruit yielded by a tree that was cut down to provide the needed wood for the Tabernacle.