2006-03-23

Ellington Shul: Fwd: Torah Bytes - Holiness of Time


Shalom fellow members! I am home from israel. My computer's on the
fritz so i'm typing this on my phone- i can't help the capitalization
errors! We don't have services this week. Our next services will be on
april 1st. Enjoy the commentary to this week's parsha that i have
attached. Kol tov.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Aish.com" <newsletterserver@aish.com>
Date: Thu, 23 Mar 2006 09:59:00 -0600
Subject: Torah Bytes - Holiness of Time
To: elipongo@gmail.com

Aish.com
Torah Bytes

Vayakhel-Pekudei (Exodus 35:1-40:38)

Holiness of Time

by Rabbi Shraga Simmons

* * *

We all know that Israel is the Holy Land. Well, Shabbat is the "Holy
Time." When Shabbat comes, we immerse in a new dimension - an
anywhere-in-the-world, expense-free vacation. No travel agent
required.

But what is "holiness" anyway? In Hebrew, "kedusha" has the
connotation of separate and distinct. We make Kiddush on Friday night
to distinguish between Shabbat and the weekdays. And "Kiddushin," the
word for marriage, is so named because the one I marry is designated
for unique status, vis-a-vis every other person in the world.

At the beginning of this parsha, Moses gathers together ("Vayakel")
the Jewish people and tells them:

"You may work during the six weekdays, but the seventh day shall be
holy for you... Do not ignite a fire in any of your dwelling-places on
the Shabbat day." (Exodus 35:2-3)

Immediately following this, the Torah describes the tasks necessary
for building the Tabernacle - the single holiest site in Judaism. Why
does the Torah so starkly juxtapose building the Tabernacle with the
mitzvah to observe Shabbat?

Because Shabbat and the Tabernacle are one and the same. They are both
links to a transcendent dimension. During the Jewish people's 2,000
years of exile from the land following the destruction of our Holy
Temple, Shabbat served as our sanctuary, the place to restore and
refresh our perspective in a world often hostile to Torah values. As
it is said: "As much as the Jews have kept Shabbat, Shabbat has kept
the Jews."

The Torah specifically chooses "igniting fire" as its lone example of
work, because it epitomizes the divisive, combustive energies that
Shabbat seeks to avoid. Instead of imposing our will upon the world,
we are in harmony with it. We don't drive a car, work an animal, or
even pluck a blade of grass.

On Shabbat, we are all kings. We take advantage of the extra
spirituality infused in the Shabbat day to focus on our spiritual
goals, which we express through prayer, learning Torah, festive meals,
and time spent with family and friends. That is why this parsha is
called "Vayakhel," meaning unity. For one day each week, there is no
competition. There is only flow.

======================================

Rabbi Shraga Simmons spent his childhood trekking through snow in
Buffalo, New York. He has worked in the fields of journalism and
public relations, and is now the Editor of Aish.com in Jerusalem. You
can contact him directly at: simmons@aish.com

See the full Parsha Archives:
http://www.aish.com/torahportion/pArchive_hp.asp

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2006-03-21

Just so my regular readers

Just so my regular readers know, my computer developed a problem while I was in Israel. My posting will be limited until I get it fixed.

2006-03-20