Torah Tidbits

Come, Relax, and Enjoy What You’ve Built!    featured-rabbi
Shabbat Parashat VaYak-hel
February 22, 2014 – 22 Adar 1 5774

Come, Relax, and Enjoy What You’ve Built!

You probably think this is a shameless plug for Game Night this Saturday evening…(Just a reminder that Game Night is this Saturday evening, at 7:30 pm, at Rodef Sholom Temple…Hope to see you there!).

Actually, when I titled this piece: Come, Relax, and Enjoy What You’ve Built, I was thinking more broadly of the wisdom of our weekly Torah portion, VaYak-hel.

The Torah tells us that in ancient times, our people gave so much to the building of the Sanctuary that Moses had to say: Enough!  The sense of giving to a holy communal enterprise was a source of joy and fulfillment for our ancestors in the desert.  So much so, that Moses had to say: Enough!  Our ancestors truly appreciated the joy associated with the gift of giving.

The Torah records this for eternity because relating to community joyously as a place of “giving” is something of a challenge in our consumer oriented world.  But, this wisdom is something we need to recall today more than ever.

Certainly, our congregation is a place where we may “receive” support in preparation for life cycle events, or for religious services, or Jewish education, etc… But, the true joy comes from regarding our congregation as a holy communal enterprise in which each of us maximizes our sense of giving.

Interestingly, in our weekly Torah portion, Moses gathered the people, thanked them for their overwhelming giving to the Sanctuary project, and invited them to come, relax, and enjoy what they had built!  He reminded them that each week, after six days of giving and of working, it is time to celebrate Shabbat.  Because the gift of Shabbat is the perfect balance to the gift of giving.

When we build our congregation, giving all that we are able in order to make it a place of excellence, of spirituality, of community, of social action, of Jewish education, of Jewish connection, of inspiration, we may overlook the opportunity to come to Shabbat services simply to relax and to enjoy what we have built.

Together, we have built more than a physical building or sanctuary.  We have built Jewish community.  We have built friendships.  We have built common purpose.  And, none of this can happen if we don’t take advantage of our opportunities to come together as a community.  That is why our Shabbat kiddush luncheons are such an important part of who we are at Rodef Sholom Temple.  I hope you will come to Shabbat services as often as possible and that you will stay for lunch as often as you can because the winning spiritual combination is when we build and give, and then come, relax and enjoy together.

That is why Moses repeated the blessing of the Shabbat, even as he thanked the people for having contributed to the Sanctuary with all their hearts.  He did not want them to be builders who never stop to enjoy the fruits of their labor….

In the spirit of the wisdom of our Torah portion, I look forward to seeing you on Friday night, on Shabbat, and also at Game Night on Saturday night!  Let’s take the opportunity to pray together and to play together – to build, and then to come, to relax, and to enjoy what we’ve built!

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Gilah Dror