My Dad created beautiful objects from wood, expertly transforming a geometric chunk of pine into a smooth, curved, ornamental turning on the lathe. His dexterous hands crafted small wooden toys, functional pieces of furniture and even a ping pong table that hosted many competitions in our basement. He poured his heart into every project. I’m thinking about him today, February 28, 2019 on what would have been his 99th birthday.
In this week’s Torah portion, Vayakhel, Moses gathers the Israelites and essentially creates the first House and Grounds Committee. Their task is to build the Tabernacle, an atonement for their construction of the golden calf while impatiently awaiting Moses’ descent from Mount Sinai. He instructs every Jew to contribute his or her silver, gold or copper to build the Tabernacle. Moses describes all those who will give as kol n’div libo, “every generous-hearted person…” (Exodus 35:5) The donations start pouring in – precious metals, acacia wood and colorful fabrics – the Israelites are inspired and energized and contribute with a full heart. In Exodus 35:21-22, we read “Everyone whose heart prompted them and everyone who was spiritually moved came, bringing a Divine offering…men and women, all whose hearts prompted them.” For a skilled craftsperson to build something so exceptional, one had to cultivate the wisdom of heart, of instinct. That still, small voice inside has always been our guide. And only with inspired engagement, intuition and pouring one’s heart into it, could a home for the Divine, be built.
May we all live a life with an uplifted spirit and generous heart, inspired and passionate about contributing to the world.