Ki Tissa (Feb 14, 2014)

Post date: Feb 14, 2014 10:17:22 PM

Dear Haverim,

My father had a booming voice. Before my bar mitzvah, I remember hiding under the pews, being so embarrassed when he would sing louder than anyone else in the synagogue, including the cantor. I was reluctant to sing as loudly as he did, not wanting to attract that kind of attention. (You wouldn't know it today, right?)

Noticing that I could hold a tune and harmonize, he encouraged me to sing out. And he provided as the example, the message of this week's perasha, Ki Tissa, and specifically, the calling of Bezalel.

God asks for Bezalel (from the powerful and influential tribe of Judah) by name, to be the master craftsman and artist for the building of the Ohel Moed (Tent of Meeting) and the Aron Le'Edut (Ark of the Testament). What's even more interesting is that God first says that God bestowed Bezalel with these great artistic talents, then God says Bezalel should use these gifts to build the artifacts which will be the center of our community worship.

The example is clear. In our day-to-day functions, we do what we must to get by. But if we accept that there is a Power greater than we, from which all things emanate, it is incumbent on each of us to use the best of our gifts when we address that Source of Life. If the queen grants you a parcel of land, put out the good china when she comes to visit.

But there is more (isn't there always more?). It's not just that this Tent of Meeting was a place of communion with God. More importantly, it was a place where became a community (literally one unity from the many). At the beginning of the perasha, we are instructed to levy a tax of a half sheckel on every adult male. That money was to be used to fund the building of the Ohel Moed. No one was to pay more, and no one was to pay less, so that *when* the people gathered at their beautiful Tent of Meeting, each was an equal contributor. The financially poor must not feel inferior, nor the financially rich superior, in service to our community, in the service of God.

You count. Each one of us counts.

As if to further deliver that point, God appoints Oholiab, from the least powerful and least influential tribe of Dan, as Bezalel's first officer.

Each one of us counts. Be counted tonight.

Shabbat shalom,