The double portion Vayakhel-Pekudei presents Moses’ speech to the Israelite community at one of the many special gatherings during their wanderings in the desert. The speech opens with a brief restatement of the commandment to keep the Sabbath. However, the topic of Moses’ message is the building of the Tabernacle. Moses solicits gifts—gold, silver, copper, and a long list of other items—to provide for the physical structure of the Tabernacle and its adornment. He also urges those who are skilled builders to construct the Tabernacle, the tent to cover it, and all the furniture within, including the ark.

Our biblical ancestors understood the unifying power of a community effort to construct a sanctuary. With regard to giving gifts and engaging in the labour of building, the biblical text uses the phrase “everyone whose heart so moves him” to recognise the psychological need to give, as well as to praise those who donate or volunteer their wealth and time.  Our biblical text provides an example of gratitude for gifts given when the heart moves the giver or the contribution of labour is a reflection of unique skill.

This correlates perfectly with International Women’s day, we mark this week (8 March).  As someone who sits nearly every day in the office of Bet David, I am able to witness day after day how much women contribute to the success of our congregation. To the team of Kehillah, our wonderful Gabbaim, Shammashim and Lay-Leader team, to all our special ladies in ManCom and in the office, Glynnis, Di, Thandi and Neria: THANK YOU. Often your contributions are beyond the normal, and this is what makes Bet David this warm and welcoming Shul.

Thank you all for making Bet David so special.

I feel blessed to work with those wonderful women.

Shabbat Shalom—Rabbi Adrian M Schell