I’ve been writing this blog for over a year now and, during that time, I’ve always written about my own confusing moments in the joyful mess that is parenthood. This week, though, I’d like to write about another mother, one of my oldest friends and someone I love like a sister.
It’s not that I have nothing to write about. This week was mid-winter break in New York (and elsewhere?) which meant that I was home with our kiddo for a week. My wife, alas, has deadlines that could not be pushed back, so a lot of the vacation ended up being my kid and I touring Brooklyn playgrounds. It’s been a week of hilarity and chaos, as well as frustrations and meltdowns.
But that’s not what I want to write about.
This week’s Torah portion is Vayakhel, a portion of the Bible that is usually paired with its counterpart, Pekudei. There are several traditional pairings of this sort in the Jewish tradition; double portions are typical during regular years and get split up during leap years. The Jewish year 5782, as it happens, is a leap year. You probably know that the Gregorian calendar, being solar, adds a single day to the calendar year once every four years. The Jewish calendar is different—we use a sort of lunar-solar mix that adds a full month every four years.
On regular years, the holiday of Purim falls during the month of Adar. This year it will fall during the month of Adar 2. That will happen in a few weeks.
This week’s portion is, not surprisingly, a continuation of that past weeks’ instructions on crafting the sacred vestments, the Ark of the Covenant, and all of the items that the Priests will use during their rituals. Last week we learned about a certain gifted person, Bezalel ben Uri ben Hur, who had the divine skills necessary for leading this creative endeavor. In keeping with that theme, this week God calls upon all the Israelites to use their singular skills and gifts in order to contribute to the building of this holy site. In other words, this is a group project.
“…all the women who excelled in that skill spun the goats’ hair,” reads Exodus 35:26, by way of example. A few verses earlier, Exodus 35:22 states that, “Men and women, all whose hearts moved them, all who would make an elevation offering of gold to the Lord.” To me, this reads as an understanding…