WWOT: Weekly Words of Torah – Parashat Tetzaveh

To inspire, guide, engage, enrich, and empower Conservative Jewish Women
By Rabbi Ellen S. Wolintz-Fields, Executive Director, Women’s League For Conservative Judaism

In our Torah reading this week, Parashat Tetzaveh, there are many details about how the Tabernacle, Mishkan, was to be built. The Torah provided details on the materials, colors, and types of wood to be used in the construction of the Mishkan. Why were there so many details provided by the Torah? If one were to think about life, often our daily activities are framed by the details. Anyone who has ever planned any sort of lifecycle event knows how many precious details go into the big event. However, one must never lose sight of the bigger meaning of the event, and not get bogged down in the details. So, too, with the many details of the Mishkan tabernacle, one should not lose sight that it was being built for God, so that God could dwell amongst the people.

However, have you ever wondered how the Children of Israel and their haste to leave Egypt, did not have time to let the flour rise, and now we have to endure eating matzah for a week of Passover, but, somehow, in their rush, they were able to have dolphin skins, acacia wood, the numerous different stones for the breastplate, and all the other materials needed to be able to build the Tabernacle Mishkan? Truly, we have no idea if they had all these supplies on hand, if the materials just happened to appear to them while in the desert or, perhaps, it was good descriptive narrative to add to our story. But we can still learn a lesson from these many details of the unusual materials used in the construction of the Mishkan.

When one needs a special material for an extraordinary project, such as a building of the Tabernacle for God to dwell, the Children of Israel did everything in their power to find the supplies they needed, since the materials were to be used for God. This was a holy task filled with challenges, but the goal and who the goal was for was worth it. We must all keep that in mind. Sometimes a task might feel just as daunting. However, if we put the task in perspective and keep the goal in mind, especially if it might be a holy, sacred task, the challenges to achieve the goal will not feel as daunting, and we also will be able to find dolphin skins while wandering in our own deserts.

WWOT, Weekly Words of Torah is a brief paragraph prepared weekly by our new Executive Director, Rabbi Ellen S. Wolintz-Fields, presented in our “This Week @ Women’s League.” WWOT will provide meaningful thoughts related to the Weekly Torah Portion, an event on the Calendar, a Prayer, or something of Jewish interest, to inspire, guide, engage, enrich, and empower Conservative Jewish Women. If you have any particular interest in future topics, or want to send Rabbi Wolintz-Fields an email, you can contact her at ewolintz-fields@wlcj.org. Read previous Weekly Words of Torah here.