Come Together: Vayakhel-Pekudei 2017

by Adam J. Rosenbaum

Pre-Game Chatter: Do you prefer working individually or in a group? Does your creativity find its voice better when co-workers inspire you, or is it better if it happens without the distraction of others?

As our reading of the book of Exodus comes to a close, we are reminded that the construction of the Mishkan (portable sanctuary) combines the best of individual motivation and teamwork.

The Pitch: “And let all among you who are skilled come and make all that the Lord has commanded …” – Exodus 35:10

Swing #1: “If you wish to perform a commandment, do it with dispatch. Wasting time on ingenious discussions may impede action. Hence the verse tells us: ‘Let him who is truly wise and anxious to fulfill the commandments of the Lord not waste too much time discussing them but set about at once to translate his resolve into action.’” – HaDrash VeHaEyun

Swing #2: “The greatest wisdom is not to be too wise, but to obey the command of the Lord without much speculation.” – Pardes Yosef

Swing #3: “The Tabernacle, like the Sinaitic event, involved the people of Israel in its entirety. It was meant to minister to the religious needs of the whole of Israel, to be the cynosure of its spiritual yearnings and the visible focus of the tribal unity. Hence, its creation must be a cooperative enterprise. Therefore the narrative is punctuated with items that stress the pan-Israelite nature of the institution.” – Nahum Sarna, Exploring Exodus

Late-Inning Questions: According to our commentators, what are the chief attributes of those who completed the Mishkan? Is it more important that they are individually proactive, or that they work together? What are the best methods to ensure both qualities when we collaborate on an important project?

On-Deck at Emanu-El: This is a busy time for our Synagogue’s youth; last weekend, all of our Religious School’s 8th-graders traveled to West Palm Beach attend “Gesh Con”, the convention for soon-to-be USYers in the HaNegev (southeastern) region. This weekend, our COSY high-schoolers are traveling to Birmingham to take part in the Ein Gedi sub-region’s spring convention. Special congratulations to Noa Leigh Hubara, who will be completing an outstanding term as Ein Gedi president.

The Big Inning at the End: Even with Israel eliminated from the tournament, the World Baseball Classic was a fantastic event, punctuated by an impressive, first-ever victory by the United States team. While the event format could use some tinkering, I hope it will continue to grow in esteem in the years ahead.

Shabbat Shalom!