Shabbat Mevarchin Mahar Hodesh
Candles 5:26pm. Havdalah 6:22pm
As we come to the end of Exodus we complete the narrative and description of the Tabernacle. The language the Torah uses surprisingly resonates with the language of Creation. In both cases the Torah uses similar language “And He commanded and it was done” “And He saw that it was good” “And the work was completed” “And He blessed them.”
In the case of Creation these terms are used of God. In the case of the Tabernacle they are used of Moses. I understand this to mean that God in His way decided on the creative process and the sort of world we have, with all its gifts and natural resources. Our challenge is not to destroy it, to over use, to degrade the universe He has created. Similarly with the houses and structures we make, we design them to conform to good practice, to Gods laws. The trouble is we humans often tend to degrade and misuse our own gifts and religion too. Whether it is God’s house or our own we must take good care of it.
We now enter into the Jewish period of giving. Shabbat Shekalim reminds us of the communal tax dating to Biblical times, to contribute to the upkeep of communal buildings and institutions the way we once did with the Tabernacle and the Temple. Then in two week’s time we have Purim when we give to the poor and to friends. Finally comes Pesach when we have an obligation to make sure poor people have enough to make the Seder and keep the festival. Caring for others, charity, is one of the core principles of our people, our survival and our continuity.