A Homeschooling Thought For the Homebound at This Time
Every year, around this time, I wonder why these two parshas are necessary. As it is, the amount of technical detail described in Terumah and Tetzaveh regarding the construction of the temporary sanctuary are difficult to relate to our personal lives. But then to rehash for another two sedras, could seem excessive..
At the moment, we are experiencing an unprecedented shut-down of communal life. No shuls, no schools, no simchas, no learning centers. All the places described as “mikdash” are off limits. Except one.
At the beginning of the construction of the Mishkan, G-d says: “Make me a Holy place, and I will live among them.” The Rabbi say that it says “among them” rather than “in it” to hint that it’s not the brick and mortar (or gold and wood) edifice that G-d inhabits, but within the people themselves. They extrapolate that we should create sanctuaries in our private homes and hearts, called: “Mikdash Me’at: Microcosmic holy spaces.” That is where the Divine rests- in our homes and in our souls. The sedras continually reference the phrase: “wisdom of the heart”- a Biblical source for emotional intelligence, which the Torah says is the specialty of women.
In this parsha it says: “And all the women whose heart[s] uplifted them with wisdom, wove the ‘izim’.” The word izim literally refers to the goat hair, which had to be processed beginning even before the shearing. But the word “izim” also means “boldness” or “strengths.” If we use the metaphor of building a mishkan to mean creating a spiritual space in our homes and hearts to invite the Divine, maybe we can interpret this verse as follows: “And all the women who have the privileged spiritual power to self-motivate and inspire others. To utilize their superior emotional intelligence to weave together strengths and abilities during hard times. To marshal their own talents, creativity, and resourcefulness, and to uplift others to do the same. To fortify their homes with resilience and growth, so that even when all other sanctuaries are shut down, when the big centralized institutions are brought to their knees, we can build sanctuaries in our homes and hearts to nourish ourselves and our families spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, and physically.”
These sedras are called: vayakel and pekudei- which means gathering and accounting. We can no longer gather live for the time being, but it’s a great opportunity to gather our own households, to take an accounting of our communities, our families, our individual and familial needs and strengths, and generate authentic holiness from the inside out.