Dvar Torah from Rabbi Saul I. Grife
"A Time to Complete a Task... and a Time Not To Complete"
Parshat HaShavuah, the Torah portion this week is Pekuday, from Sefer Shemot, the Book of Exodus 38:21 - 40:38. "Pekuday" means "records", referring to the detailed construction plans of the ancient Mishkan or Tabernacle, the portable sanctuary that the Israelites built and transported around the desert with them for 40 years. Pekuday is the concluding parsha of Sefer Shemot. As we finish the Torah reading this Shabbat morning, we will rise at the reading of the last pasuk (verse) and sing...
Hazak Hazak Vi'nithazek... Be strong, be strong and together we will strengthen each other!
These words constitute our annual theme here at BTBJ this year. Jewish values equate learning and wisdom with strength. Therefore, it is assumed that as we finish each book of the Torah, we grown in understanding and compassion. I hope that all of us have learned valuable lessons from the Book of Exodus this year!
The question is asked,
What is the most important verse in the Torah?
Rabbi Hillel opined that Leviticus 19:18, which states...
Vi'ahavta Li'rayacha Kamocha... Love your neighbor as yourself
encapsulates the entire spirit of the Torah and summarizes all of its wisdom and mitzvot. I invite you to consider what answer you may give as to the most critical verse in all of Torah. Some point to the first one that introduces Torah and the act of Creation. Others point to the start of the Aseret HaDibrot, the Ten Commandments, that many say also represents all of Torah. These choices would seem probable to many. But other scholars have suggested verses that would be considered highly unlikely to most Jews. For example, Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel, the renowned Maharal of Prague argues that the verse found in the Book of Numbers, Parshat Pinchus 28:4 is the most important one of all. (This verse is found in the monthly reading for Rosh Hodesh, the celebration of the start of each new Hebrew month. We read this portion both today and tomorrow coincidentally, since both this Thursday and Friday are the 2 days of Rosh Hodesh Adar II!) 28:4 states...
One lamb shall you offer in the morning, and the other lamb shall you offer in the evening.
The Maharal explains his surprising choice...
The most important verse in the Torah points us to intentional, daily, consistent behavior - in this case, offering a sacrifice both morning and evening. Using the example of the ancient sacrificial offering, which demanded careful attention to every detail of the process, the Torah directs us to set a course of action and to follow it, renewing our commitment day after day.
Yet another scholar points to a verse in this week's parsha as the most critical one in all of Torah. Exodus 39:32 states...
Thus was completed all the work of the Tabernacle of the Tent of Meeting. The Israelites did so; just as the Lord had commanded Moses, so they did.
What makes this announcement of the completion of the Mishkan so critical to the Torah?
The answer offered is that this is a testament to how important it is to complete the tasks that we take upon ourselves in our lives!!
Each of us knows how imperative it is to finish pursued goals in our lives!
One cannot achieve a degree to become a lawyer, a doctor, a teacher or anything until one completes one's course of study. The presentation of a diploma testifies to reaching a desired plateau.
Every sports team begins their season with the goal of winning it all at the end. Though every team but one will fail to attain that goal, the team that does can satisfactorily say that they completed the task they began in preseason by winning the ultimate championship.
Yes... it is wonderful and so defining to finish great tasks that we adopt in life!
Yet, on the other hand, the Bible clearly states in Ecclesiastes 3:1...
Lakol zman, vi'et li'chol chayfetz tachat haShamayim...
There is a time for everything, a season for every experience
underneath the sun.
Following this logic, is there a time when it is good NOT to finish a project or challenge?
Dr. Richard Carlson, the author of Don't Sweat the Small Stuff, maintains that one should never feel that they have completed their life. Instead, one should leave this world with projects in their "in box". Therefore, a life should never really feel completed, no matter how long or full it has been. May our hopes, plans, intentions, yearnings, activities and dreams continue on!
A time to complete a task... and a time not to.
I hope that we will find the wherewithal, commitment, vision and strength to complete that which we stoutly desire to finalize. And... at the same time I hope we will view life as a never-ending adventure that brings new insights, challenges and desires as the years accrue so that we never truly stop growing, changing and living!
May we all realize enough successes to make our lives feel productive, accomplished and satisfying!
Hazak Hazak Vi'Nitchazek!
Shabbat Shalom u'mevorach to all! -
Shabbat Pekuday 5779
Men's Club Event
BTBJMC Tour and Tasting at New Liberty Distillery
Sunday, March 24, 2019 11:30am
Join the BTBJ Men's Club as we go to the New Liberty Distillery for a day of learning about distilling spirits and tasting.
We will be providing bus transportation to and from this event.
Snacks will be provided on the bus.
This Event is included in your membership.
Repeating, THIS EVENT IS FREE to BTBJ Men's Club Members
RSVP by March 14
Non-Member pricing $30
Non members can pay by Paypal
Payment can be made by Paypal to:
March Adult Ed
March 27th at 7:00 pm
BTBJ Speaker Series
Diana Kanoff will be presenting a power point talk about the life of Maestro Leonard Bernstein, this year being the 101st anniversary of his birth. Diana's presentation will be a reprise of one which she presented at the adult education organization REAP, Retired Executives and Professionals. Diana is a retired school teacher who lives in Jenkintown and is a member of Congregation Adath Jeshurun.
Online Gift Shop
BTBJ Sisterhood is excited to participate as an affitliate of the online Judaic website, Traditions Jewish Gifts.
Currently Traditions Jewish Gifts is offering a special coupon to their affiliates. Enter special COUPON CODE: AF240, to receive $5.00 off the order, with no minimum order required.