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		                                    Thinking Torah Blog		                                </span>

03/16/2023 05:00:00 PM


Cantor Regina Lambert-Hayut

This week’s Torah portion is a double portion, Vayak’heil - P’kudei, and it begins with Moses gathering the whole community and telling them that God commanded us to observe Shabbat, a day of rest. Immediately following that reminder of God’s first gift to the people is a recapping of the gifts needed from the Israelites to build the Mishkan - these are strictly to be free-will gifts only from those whose hearts were so moved. The brief recap lead into the description of all of the artisan work that was then done to build the Mishkan, the ritual objects and the beautiful priestly garments for Aaron and his sons to wear. There are more reminders filling these portions which bring us to the conclusion of the Book of Exodus.

The underlying message of these opening verses is that we need to remember that no matter how wonderful and beautiful our work is, we still need to take a regular break to refresh ourselves, otherwise how could we create our best ‘art’. Sacred work requires sacred rest. Shabbat is mentioned first lest we forget and get so wrapped up in that work of creating that do not take the time we need to recenter and reset. Even God rested on the seventh day after the most creative work of all.

How poignant for this Shabbat to be the week that our Rabbi Josh will be returning to TBE after the first part of his sabbatical year. He has been our chief artisan for the past 6+ years, and now was able to take some time away with his family to recenter and refresh himself in his 7th year with us. It is our sincerest hope that he comes back to us refreshed and ready to continue his sacred work! We, too, are ready!

We warmly and enthusiastically welcome Rabbi Josh back home!! Rabbi - we have missed you and look forward to drinking in your words thirstily (Pirkei Avot) as we benefit from and grow through your insights and experiences during your time away!

As we end a book of Torah, we say the words: Chazak, Chazak v’Nitchazeik - Be strong, be strong and we will be strengthened!! Chazak - to Rabbi Josh for the insights, opportunities and amazing experiences during his sabbatical months; Chazak - to the members of TBE who so generously embraced this sabbatical opportunity for our rabbi; v’Nitchazeik - by going through this experience together, we surely continue to become a stronger and more meaningful community!!

May we all go from strength to strength!

Sat, June 15 2024 9 Sivan 5784