Friday, February 29, 2008

Not quite the far side II

It was brought to my attention that perhaps the usual poster of this wouldn't have the chance to do so today, so I hope this does justice:

In chapter 36 of this week's parsha, Vayakhel, it says:

ג: וַיִּקְחוּ מִלִּפְנֵי מֹשֶׁה, אֵת כָּל-הַתְּרוּמָה אֲשֶׁר הֵבִיאוּ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לִמְלֶאכֶת עֲבֹדַת הַקֹּדֶשׁ--לַעֲשֹׂת אֹתָהּ; וְהֵם הֵבִיאוּ אֵלָיו עוֹד, נְדָבָה--בַּבֹּקֶר בַּבֹּקֶר
3: And they received of Moses all the offering, which the children of Israel had brought for the work of the service of the sanctuary, wherewith to make it. And they brought yet unto him freewill-offerings every morning.

The "they" in this sentence is referring to the people who worked under the leadership of Betzalel and Ahaliav to make the keilim (vessels) used in the mishkan. And what did they do? They took all the donations that Bnei Yisrael brought for the mishkan - all the different materials that members of klal Yisrael donated for use in making the keilim, such as gold, stones, wood, etc. The Imrei Shefer points out that these workers did something more - they also brought their own materials to be used. They did not exempt themselves from the obligation to bring donations to the mishkan just because they were the ones chosen to build the keilim. In a sense, they demonstrated both a personal and communal responsibility - these men, even though they had been chosen to do the holy work of building the vessels of the Tabernacle, still saw the importance of fulfilling their more personal obligation of bringing their own private donations, and even before they began working on creating the keilim, they brought materials to be used.

We all have local responsibilities to those in our immediate surroundings, whether that be providing for a family, living conscientiously and politely with a roommate, or even our responsibilities to ourselves to maintain a healthy spiritual and physical lifestyle. Our responsibilities also tend to extend to the greater community as well, in the workforce, our volunteer activities, etc. The important thing to remember in dealing with all these different "sponsitivities" is to not neglect one at the expense of the other, and to not assume that just because we have bigger and more important things to do that we can't do the smaller and perhaps more mundane-seeming tasks as well.

Now, I'm not much of a Far Side fan (sorry G), but rather I come from the school of thought that is the creation of the genius Bill Watterson. This is a different sort of "bringing" of objects, but still so classic: