Before we share some thoughts on this week's Torah Portion we need to remind you that Purim is next week. Adas Israel will hold services on Friday evening the 10th of March at 7pm and our Midrash (Torah Study) will be on Saturday the 11th starting at 10am.
We will, prior to services on Friday evening, read from the Book of Esther and give you all an opportunity to have a "pre-Purim" experience if you will. We would do this on Saturday night or on Sunday which is really Purim, but because we only meet once a month...we're going to take some liberties and introduce you to Purim a bit early. Plan on having a rousing time.
This week's Torah Portion is Trumah (offering) which is Exodus 25:1 - 27:19. We start this parsha with a request from G-d: "Speak to the Children of Israel and let them take for Me a portion, from every man whose heart motivates him you shall take My portion." There is something stunning in this "request". Note that G-d wants hearts that are motivated to build the Tabernacle which is a resting place for G-d's presence. He is not demanding offerings from individuals who may not be emotionally connected to Him.
Isn't that much like it is today? We tend to give our time and talents to things we have deemed to have value. Things that mean something to us. Things that move us to action. We would hope our hearts are motivated by doing good. Perhaps we are motivated to give to charity. Perhaps we are motivated to teach, to learn to become a resource for others. Perhaps we are motivated to become a better father, mother, wife, husband...brother or sister.
G-d instructs us in very specific ways when it comes to building the Tabernacle. G-d also instructs us, in very specific ways, in which we can become a caring, learned and faithful human. All of that direction comes through the Torah and the commandments (Mitzvot).
And what drives us to follow those mitzvot? If it is our heart we are on the right path. If we decide not to eat milk and meat together...not out of fear but out of a desire to honor G-d we are on the right track. If we make the decision to not eat pork...not because we think it will chalk up a "brownie point" for us but we do it because we love G-d and his commandments then we are in line with this teaching.
So, yes...our goal should be to alter our lives by bringing forward a heart that is motivated to follow the path that has been clearly set out for us. In doing so we make for ourselves, and those whom we come into contact with, a life of honor and peace.
May you all have a wonderful Shabbat! See you next week!