Parshat Vayakhel gives the details about how Hashem wants a holy sanctuary, a dwelling place below. This is actually the meeting place of the physical and the meta-physical. There are many lists of items that go into the preparation for such a place. We are introduced at this point to Jewish art as a means of religious expression. Gold, silver, and brass for the ark, blue purple and scarlet linens topped with a gold crown were used for the torah covering. Additional details specify that the ark be decorated with Cherubim and flowers. And so, there were not only talents of gold but talents of real people like Betzalel applied. Hashem singled them out to carry out this mission. “to devise skillful works in works of gold, silver and brass, in the cutting of stones and the carving of wood…” (Shemot 31:1-8) The haftara takes us to a later time, over 400 years later, when Shlomo HaMelech built the permanent house, the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. He was taught well by the inspiration of his father, King David who wrote Psalm 84: “How lovely are Thy tabernacles!”
Throughout history, during the long exile away from this permanent house, our Rabbis declared that we glorify Hashem by creating beautiful articles that have come to be known as Judaica like: menorahs, Shabbat candlesticks, Kiddush cups, havdalah candle holders, dreydels, knitted kipot, embroidered challah covers, tallitot, decorative meigglot, mezuzah cases, ketubot, the list is long. Each item has its own distinct symbolism, and much of its influence from the motives of the Temple, Jerusalem and Israel. The rich culture of these articles of holiness have provided us with a steadfast reminder of who we are as a people, what richness we savor in our heritage. Judaica is the uniform of torah ideology. We put it on at every occasion, just enjoying its variety whether it is decorating the sukkah, making ceramic seder plates for Passover, or having a competition of who can make the nicest menorah for Chanukah. The menorah has carried us through the Arch of Titus and back into the national symbol of the State of Israel!
An interior designer that owns Architectural Antiques commented on the parsha and said, “Hashem made a seder, an order to the world. He created many things and put them all in their own special place which is why order and beauty should be copied into our homes”. (I hoped maybe my husband heard her torah….) Every home is every man’s castle and every home should be a little Jerusalem, a little Temple. This is a good opportunity to tell our readers that we are now full swing into phase 2 of our shule building project here on Itamar. We still do not have a permanent synagogue. All of those who would like to actualize the mitzvah of building a temple here in the holy land will be very blessed and greatly appreciated. Please feel free again, to come and visit at any time!
Bebirkat Haaretz, thank you again,
Shabbat Shalom Leah Goldsmith