Two-Line Torah: Vayakhel 5776–Building Community



February 29, 2016

Parashat Vayakhel focuses on the skilled work of building the tabernacle.

We learn that all of Israel contributes generously to create this holy dwelling space for G-d. The Torah instructs us on the required work to create this holy space: “Let all among you who are skilled come and make all that the Lord commanded.” (Exodus 35:10).  In order to complete the work, the community must be united.

Creating sacred space is about developing a skilled team committed to the project.  It’s difficult. The Jewish people are diverse and have different needs. There is disagreement and the work is challenging.

At Hillel, our students are skilled. I have supported students as they step up as prayer leaders, activists, crafters, Hebrew readers, learners, cooks, networkers, woodworkers, cleaners, and mediators.  It is the intentional application of these skills that creates space for G-d to dwell. 

Eli Bass is Interim Director of Jewish Life at Susquehanna University.