Have you ever heard of the Ikea Effect? The behavioral economist, Prof. Dan Ariely, has discovered that if we assemble furniture from Ikea on our own, that is, if we invest in it, using our time and energy – we become much more attached to it. Later, we will be more likely and willing to pay for it, more than a ready-made product that comes assembled straight out of the box. Investing time and energy in the piece of furniture increases the love towards it, within us.
Rabbi Prof. Jonathan Sacks connects the Ikea Effect to the current Weekly Portion, in which we read about the detailed Mishkan (sanctuary) work. Psychologically, this is the first time that we act. G-d split the sea, gave us the Torah and brought down Manna from the heavens, but now the Children of Israel must start working on their own; they have to give, donate, build, act. This makes them active and a lot more involved and caring. Meaning, the greatest gift we can give other people is not another physical gift. The greatest gift is when we give them a mission, when we let them express themselves and act. This way they start believing in themselves and also feel much better about what they cause and bring about in the world. And this is how Rabbi Sacks sums it up: give people a challenge, make them put in effort and take responsibility about a certain thing, and they will change it, and will be changed by this themselves.