The Torah portion Vayakhel 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. Regarding the giving of gifts, and engaging in the labour towards the sanctuary, 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, moved by an “inner voice” and not by any external pressure.

This Shabbat we honour the women of our congregation as part of the Women’s day of prayer. As someone who works 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. The amazing team of our Kehillah, the wonderful staff of the Mitzvah School, Glynnis, Debbie, and Di in the office. Often their engagement goes beyond the normal, and that is what makes Bet David a warm and welcoming congregation.

Thank you all for making Bet David so special.

I feel blessed to work with these wonderful women.

Shabbat Shalom – Rabbi Adrian M Schell