Judaism has a radically different mindset. The Torah was given to human beings so that by engaging the world, we can uplift and sanctify it. To be sure, there are certain ideas, acts, images, and mind-sets that are contrary to Judaism, and every Jewish person is obliged to distance themselves and their families from these negative influences at all costs. But the world at large, (daily involvement in an occupation, raising a family, eating, drinking, etc) serves as a platform and an opportunity to transform mundane matter into holy matter. And this is accomplished by approaching the world through the prism of Torah, by keeping the commandments and setting aside time each day for Torah study and prayer.
And along with engaging the world in a general sense, comes the obligation of every Jew to be involved in helping others, both materially, and spiritually.
The Parsha this week concludes the account of the building of the Mishkan, the temporary sanctuary used during the forty years in the desert.
Based on the language of a certain verse, our sages teach us that Moses himself was directly involved in the final steps of erecting the Mishkan. But one could wonder ‘why’? Moses had his own personal place to commune with G-d, the “Tent of Meeting” (in Hebrew, the “Ohel Moed") located outside the camp. The Mishkan was built in order for G-d’s presence to dwell among the Jewish Nation. But Moses himself had no need for the Mishkan! He had his own secluded, perhaps even monastic, Tent of Meeting! Why busy himself with the Mishkan, which wasn't even relevant to him!?
Nevertheless, Moses took an active role in ensuring his brethren would be able to enjoy closeness with G-d, just as he did. Instead of secluding himself and working on his own holiness, he involved himself in the spiritual welfare of others. This must serve as a lesson to us, that no matter how important we feel our spiritual (not to mention physical) well being is, we must never let it get in the way of helping others.
Purim is just under two weeks away! Don't let this important holiday pass you by. (Purim isn't only meant for kids!) See below for the exciting events we are arranging for the Community. Please consider being a co-sponsor, and helping us bring Purim joy to many people in our area.
Rabbi Akiva Hall