art by Laya Crust
Va Yakhel- Exodus 35 – 38:20
Kings I 7: 40 – 50
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. Both the parsha and the haftarah describe making beautiful objects for the mishkan and for the Temple in Jerusalem.
Gd chose Bezalel to be chief architect and designer, “and filled him with the spirit of Gd, in wisdom, and in understanding and in all manner of workmanship, to contrive works of art…” (Exodus 30: 3). Gd continued, “and in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee…”
Torah crown by Zahava Lambert, Toronto
Gd understood ( and still understands) the importance of beauty in life. In the midst of the wide expanse of desert and rugged mountains He gave detailed instructions to create a place of beauty where people could focus prayer and thought. Just a beautiful place wasn’t enough. True beauty has a foundation of wisdom and goodness. To that end Bezalel and his assistant Aholiav were imbued with wisdom and understanding. Furthermore people from B’nei Yisrael- a group of rag tag people traversing a desert- would be contributing. Gd said, “In the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom that they may make all that I have commanded thee.” (31:6)
Phrases like “wise hearted” and “willing of heart” appear 15 times in this parsha. True beauty, whether it is physical like the objects in the mishkan, verbal like profound poetry and writing, or emotional as with those who help others through challenging times, are rooted in wise hearts and wisdom.
And in Gd’s own wisdom the parsha specifically recognizes men and women equally as being wise hearted and willing hearted.
So you artists, artisans, wood workers, poets, musicians, playwrights, weavers, silversmiths, engineers, designers 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.
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