What makes us whole? Is it good health – mind and body? Is it combining our mind with our soul? When do we feel complete? When we succeed in completing a great task? When do we feel satisfied? When we look upon the work that we’ve completed and feel that our goal is achieved?
We end the reading of the book of Exodus this week with the completion of the building of the Tabernacle. It has taken the better part of the year for the Israelites to bring the gifts that were so moved by their hearts, to construct and weave all of the walls and tapestries, and finally to raise the Tabernacle so that God might dwell with the people rather than away.
Each person’s contributions are counted in not only what they bring for the building, but also how they are counted by the half shekel. Yet the Tabernacle is referred to as ha-mishkan echad, the one Tabernacle, the whole Tabernacle. The half shekel that each person brings is symbolic in that we are not whole or complete without God’s presence. Hence, ha-mishkan echad, the Tabernacle helps to complete us by bringing God’s presence to us…with us.
For the Israelites alone in the desert, it was significant for them to not only believe that God was with them, but to also experience God with them. This brought them a sense of wholeness and completeness.
Today, the Tabernacle does not exist, yet our synagogue and our Jewish community does. Yet, how does belonging to the synagogue and community allow us to feel whole and complete?
Some might expect an “ah-ha!” moment, something that says, ‘of course this is what exists.’ But most have to search more deeply for the connection, work harder to experience the “ah-ha!” moment. If we are waiting for it to just happen, I’m sorry to say that we might be waiting for a long time. Hence why it was the Israelites who had to bring the gifts that so moved their hearts. Why they had use the work of their hands to create the community.
Our Torah and our lesson today is that we do not find completeness, wholeness or connection just by standing there and waiting for it to happen. We have to make it happen.
How are you making it happen? How are you connecting to the community? What are you doing to help create “ah-ha!” moments? Please share them with us by leaving a comment.
Here’s to all of our “ah-ha!” moments.