Vayakhel

 

God’s sanctuary is created entirely from donations. At the essence of the material locus of divine presence is the act of giving away: the opposite of materialism. “Everyone whose heart stirred and whose soul gave willingly.” Any object has value only when transferred: food’s value is in eating, money in buying, knowledge in teaching, art in perceiving, words in speaking. Just as a physical building doesn’t really contain God, yet through the act of giving away He is encountered, neither can religious rituals be intrinsically holy: only when the whole of one’s self gives of itself can an action truly be called spiritual. This is the difference between prayerbooks and prayer, apologies and repentance, thanks and thankfulness, romance and love.

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[Inspired by: Exodus 35 and 25:8 ; Kedushat Halevi on Shemini; Totality and Infinity by Emmanuel Levinas; The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.]

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