This week's Torah reading:
With this week's portions we conclude the book of Exodus. The first
, begins with an admonition that we work six days, but to rest on the seventh day,
. The remainder of the
deals with the actual building of the
(sanctuary) and its utensils, which had been described in previous chapters. This juxtaposition of
led the rabbis to understand that the categories of work forbidden on
are derived from the kind of work it took to build the
, describes the making of clothing for the
, and the jewelry he wore. This too was described in previous chapters. Finally, "In the first month of the second year, on the first of the month, the Tabernacle was set up." (40:17).
In a strange quirk of fate, the first line of the
begins with the words “
V’yakhel Moshe et kol adat B’nei Yisrael...
Moses gathered together the entire community of Israel...” (Ex. 35.1). Of course ironically we are in exactly the opposite situation today. Instead of gathering together, we are all separated in our own homes. Slowly but surely we are becoming expert in “zoom” technology and virtual minyanim. It is at least another way of “gathering together”.
As I was searching for words of wisdom to share, my father in law sent me the following. I thought his words would be of comfort to us all.
Perhaps I can offer you a bit of encouragement during what for all of us are uncertain and frightening times. Personally, I have always sought and managed to find a measure of comfort in our vast storehouse of Biblical or Rabbinic literature. Turn with me, therefore, once again to the first pages of our Torah where we find Adam and Eve, the first human beings. A
describes Adam terrorized and seized by fear as darkness approaches. He has never seen this phenomenon before and wonders if this portends the end of the world. Will the sun shine again? In time, the dark hours pass and the skies begin to brighten. Adam is reassured that life will continue.
I think of this Rabbinic tale during these dark days urging us all to have faith that “the sun will come out tomorrow.” These threatening days will pass and life will return to normal – or close to normal. The Psalmist captured the essence of this idea when in the thirtieth psalm he wrote “weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes in the morning.”
Wishing joy and hope to all!
Rabbi Albert Thaler
I wish all of you a healthy and hopeful