Torah Tidbits

Is the Accent on the Right Syllable?   

Shabbat Parashat Tetsavveh

February 20, 2016 – 11 Adar I 5776   

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The news of Justice Scalia’s passing made a deep impression on me.  Not because of the politics.  Not because of any personal connection I had with him.  But, because he was somehow “larger than life.” All the discussions that followed gave me serious pause to reflect on the nature of life and about the choices we make day in and day out – choices that affect who we are and how we are remembered….

I was reminded of an interesting teaching by Yeshayahu Leibowitz, in his book “Al Parashat HaShavua” [On the weekly Torah Portion].  Leibowitz points out that the Torah mentions the fashioning of clothing, twice.   The first time is in the Book of Genesis, where one lone Biblical verse (Genesis 3:21) tells us that God fashioned clothing for Adam and Eve.  The second time is in our weekly Torah portion, where the details of the priestly garments are described in no less than 60 verses which are repeated again in two more weekly Torah portions in the Book of Exodus!

The ratio between the huge number of verses about fashioning  priestly clothing for holy and communal purposes– and the incredibly small single verse that relates to God’s action– teaches us that our main focus in life should rightly be on the things we can do. What we may learn from Torah about God’s actions is actually secondary.

What a beautiful teaching!  As we reflect on life and on our life choices, we might ask ourselves: What is our main focus in life?  Are we putting the accent on the right syllable?

May our choices lead us to actions that bring light into the world, peace among people, and joy and blessing to all.

Shabbat Shalom!
Rabbi Gilah Dror