Adrian A. Durlester

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Random Musing Before Shabbat

Vayakhel 5768

An Imaginary Community?

Everyone contributed to the building of the tabernacle. Each brought his/her own gift/skill/talent to the process. Each gave freely of his/her personal possessions. And they weren't even building something fixed and permanent-it was portable.

You don't see it much anymore. Whole communities working together, each contributing of their talents, to build something. Oh, there are still Amish barn-raisings, and Yachad and Habitat for Humanity projects. For a time, in Israel, chalutzim built kibbutzim, villages, factories, and more. The spirit endures. Yet it is diminished.

It's no so easy today to get people to contribute to projects directly. And for those who contribute financially, imagine trying to get one of them to underwrite a structure that wasn't fixed or permanent, and upon which they could not have a plaque or name affixed. (Actually, I am sure there are philanthropists out there who might do so, but my point is more about having the whole community contribute.)

We don't slaughter our own animals. Lots of us don't even prepare our own meals anymore. Our homes, towns, villages, synagogues are built and maintained for us by others.

How odd we have become. Think of the irony. We're all too lazy, or too haughty, or think ourselves too important to take on menial tasks. So we relegate these tasks to others. They build our homes, clean our homes, sweep our streets, cook and serve our meals. Then we complain that they are stealing our jobs, and build big fences to keep them out.

Sure, some take pride in keeping up our own homes - mowing, raking, repairing. It's a drop in the bucket, and it is ultimately a selfish act, not a communal one. What can we do together, as a community? Build a playground? Pave our streets? Build a schoolhouse? (Remember, communities used to have to build one in order to have one. We take so much for granted these days.)

Imagine, for a moment, a world in which all the inhabitants contributed some talent to the building of the United Nations. Imagine, for a moment, a synagogue built from scratch by the members of its congregation, and maintained by them as well. Imagine a synagogue with no need for the Shabbas goy. Imagine a world where someone actually had to say "Stop! You're being too generous."

Ken Y'Hi Ratzon. Ken Y'hi Ratzoneinu.

Shabbat Shalom,


©2008 by Adrian A. Durlester

Some other musings on this parasha:

Vayakhel-Pekudei/Shabbat HaHodesh 5767-Redux 5760-The Lost Episodes: Too Much of a Good Thing
Vayakhel-Pekudei/Shabbat HaHodesh 5766 - So How Did Joseph Get Away With it?
 Pekude 5765-Redux 5760-Pronouns
 Vayakhel 5765-The Wisdom of the Heart

 Vayakhel/Pekude 5764-Comma or Construct?
 Vayakhel 5763-Dayam V'hoteir
 Vayakhel/Pekude 5762-Sacred Work
 Vayakhel/Pekude 5761 (Revised from 5758)-Craftsman. Artisan. Artist.

 Vayakhel/Pekude 5758-Craftsman. Artisan. Artist.
 Vayakhel 5760-The Lost Episodes: Too Much of a Good Thing

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