Meir Panim delivers warmth, special care to families in need.
And now G-d does the single greatest act in history. He appears in a revelation at Mount Sinai, the only time in history that G-d has appeared to an entire people. And the people tremble. There never was anything like it before; there never will be again.
How long does this last? A mere 40 days. Then the people make a Golden Calf. If miracles, the division of the sea and the revelation at Mount Sinai fail to transform the Israelites, what will? There are no greater miracles than these.
That is when G-d does the most unexpected thing. He says to Moses: speak to the people and tell them to contribute, to give something of their own, be it gold or silver or bronze, be it wool or animal skin, be it oil or incense, or their skill or their time, and get them to build something together – a symbolic home for my presence, a Tabernacle. It doesn’t need to be large or grand or permanent. Get them to make something, to become builders. Get them to give.
Moses does. And the people respond. They respond so generously that Moses is told, “The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the Lord commanded to be done” (Exodus 36:5). And Moses has to say, “stop.”
During the whole time the Tabernacle was being constructed, there were no complaints, no rebellions, no dissension. What all the signs and wonders failed to do, the construction of the Tabernacle succeeded in doing. It transformed the people. It turned them into a cohesive group. It gave them a sense of responsibility and identity.
Seen in this context, the story of the Tabernacle was the essential element in the birth of a nation. No wonder it is told at length; no surprise that it belongs to the book of Exodus. And there is nothing ephemeral about it. The Tabernacle did not last forever, but the lesson it taught did.
It is not what G-d does for us that transforms us, but rather what we do for G-d. A free society is best symbolized by the Tabernacle. It is the home we build together. It is only by becoming builders that we turn from subjects to citizens. We have to earn our freedom by what we give. It cannot be given to us as an unearned gift. It is what we do, not what is done to us, that makes us free. That is a lesson as true today as it was then.
Adapted from “Covenant & Conversation,” a collection of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’s parshiyot hashavua essays, published by Maggid Books, an imprint of Koren Publishers Jerusalem (www.korenpub.com), in conjunction with the Orthodox Union.
Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, chief rabbi of the British Commonwealth since 1991, is the author of many books of Jewish thought, most recently “The Koren Sacks Rosh HaShana Mahzor” (Koren Publishers Jerusalem).
About the Author: Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, former chief rabbi of the British Commonwealth, is the author of many books of Jewish thought, most recently “The Great Partnership: Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning.”
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
German poet Heinrich Heine: “Since the Exodus, freedom has always been spoken with a Hebrew accent.”
Outside of the High Holidays, Pesach is probably the most celebrated biblical holiday for the majority of Jews.
Her Children, Her Whim
‘Kesubas Bnin Dichrin’
Question: Must one spend great sums of money and invest much effort in making one’s home kosher for Passover? Not all of us have such unlimited funds.
Yachatz is not mentioned in the Gemara. What is the foundation for yachatz?
First, the punishment for eating chametz on Pesach is karet, premature death at the Hand of God.
Why is it necessary to invite people to eat from the korban Pesach?
How was I going to get to Manhattan? No cabs were going, we didn’t have a car, and many people who did have cars had no gas.
Did you ever notice that immediately upon being granted our freedom from Egypt, the Jewish people accepted upon themselves the yoke of a new master – Hashem?
Why does Torah make the priests go through a long and seemingly bizarre induction ceremony?
Often people in important positions separate from everyday people & tasks-NOT the Kohen Gadol
You smuggled tefillin into the camp? How can they help? Every day men risked their lives to use them
Rambam: Eating blood’s forbidden because connected to idolatry;Ramban: We’re affected by what we eat
Why should unintentional sins require atonement? What guilt exists when requisite intent is lacking?
Like Shabbat points to something beyond time, the people Israel points to something beyond history
The Sabbath is a full dress rehearsal for an ideal society that has not yet come to pass-but will
Jewish prayer is a convergence of 2 modes of biblical spirituality, exemplified by Moses and Aaron
With the synagogue, “Judaism created one of the greatest revolutions in the history of religion”
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/the-tabernacles-lesson/2012/02/22/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: