Kings I 7: 40 – 50
King Solomon- c. 979 BCE – 927 BCE. He was known for his wisdom, wealth and poetry.
This week’s Torah reading describes the creation of holy objects for the mishkan. It describes the materials- the gold, silver, brass, precious stones, and materials for spinning fabric. The haftarah describes the crafted vessels for King Solomon’s Temple. The magnificence is described close on the heels of the sin of fashioning the golden calf.
Isn’t it contradictory- to punish the people for creating a golden calf but then command them to make expensive objects to be used in religious observance? They loved ornamentation and beauty. They gave their gold and precious jewelry to Aaron to make an idol to replace the absent Moshe. The answer to the contradiction is in the wording.
Phrases like “wise hearted” and “willing of heart” appear 15 times in this parsha.
That is the difference between the mishkan and the Temple; and the golden calf which is an idol. Only individuals who were wise hearted and generous could see past the expense and glitter of the materials through to the purpose of the prayer and service to God. Those who are wise and generous can understand and facilitate elevation of spirit.
In this parsha my two sides are recognized- the entity of artist and the entity of womanhood. Women are often disregarded in our writings, but here men and women are recognized equally as being wise hearted and willing hearted.
The value God places on creativity was the theme of my illustration. The vessels are based on one of the beautiful and timeless illuminations from 1299, Perpignan, Aragon. The watercolour wash represents imagination and spirituality. The two quotations are from the parsha: “Take from among you an offering of the Lord, whoever is of a willing heart let them bring it…” (35:5) “And they came, both men and women, as many as were willing of heart.” (35:22)
So you artists, artisans, wood workers, poets, musicians, playwrights, weavers, silversmiths, etc. etc.- when you work with integrity and inspiration remember that it is God’s gift to you. This is your contribution to the spiritual beauty of the world.
Have Shabbat Shalom- one full of beauty and joy and of course – creative thinking.
**When you “click” on the illustration it will enlarge.
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