Monday, February 28, 2011

A Blessing from Moshe to Moishe House

Parshat Pekudei
Shmot 38:21 – 40:38
29 Adar 1 5771 / March 4 – 5, 2011

A Blessing from Moshe to Moishe House
by Zvi Bellin, Moishe House Headquarters

וַיַּרְא מֹשֶׁה אֶת-כָּל-הַמְּלָאכָה, וְהִנֵּה עָשׂוּ אֹתָהּ--כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְהוָה, כֵּן עָשׂוּ; וַיְבָרֶךְ אֹתָם, מֹשֶׁה.

And Moses saw all the work, and, behold, they had done it; as the LORD had commanded, even so had they done it. And Moses blessed them.

The tabernacle and all of its parts are constructed, yet not united. The clothing of the Priests are stitched in fine detail. The Children of Israel bring all the products of their handiwork before Moshe for approval. He inspects the holy tools carefully; he measures each post and eyes the thread pattern of each cloak and garment. Moshe sees that everything was indeed made in accordance with what G-d commanded. The people prove their personal connection to know what G-d wants from them. According to Rashi, he blesses the entire congregation with these words.

“May it be willed that the Shechina [divine presence] will rest on the doing of your hands, and may the favor of the Lord our G-d rest on us. Establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands.”

This blessing offers an important reminder for our work through Moishe House. Like the Children of Israel (and as Children of Israel) we set the stage for some major Jewish experiences for our peers. We take care in preparing the food, and keeping the house ready for events. We are mindful about our relationships with our housemates who are in part co-workers and part friends. We do a lot to create the space and get all the details ready.

After that, we have to let go. Will people show up? Will new people come? Will our peers appreciate the scene we have created? Will our programs necessarily translate into a richer Jewish life for all involved? We don’t know, and neither did Moshe when the Israelites brought him all the ritual items. Will these physical items actually draw G-d closer to us?

Moshe’s blessing fills the gap between planning with our best effort and the actual outcome of our work. We can choose to be overcome by worry about an event, or we can bring an intention and hope that things will work out as needed. So I want to bless all of us:

May it be willed that the Divine Presence will rest on the doing of our hands, and may Divine favor rest upon us. Establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands!


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