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March 14, 1986 - Image 32

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-03-14

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32 Friday, March 14, 1986

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

TORAH PORTION

THE CULTURAL COMMISSION

OF

The Day-To-Day Events
On Life's Balance Sheet

CONGREGATION B'NAI DAVID

Cordially Invites You to Hear

BY RABBI MORTON F. YOLKUT
Special to The Jewish News

JOAN PETERS

Author of From Time Immemorial, the
celebrated and controversial winner
of the 1985 National Jewish Book Award
on

"The Arab-Israeli Conflict . . . Who Are The Palestinians?"

11:00 A.M.

Sunday, March 16, 1986

at

CONGREGATION B'NAI DAVID
24350 Southfield Road
Southfield,, Michigan 48075 .
557-8210

Question & Answer Period - No Charge - The Community is Invited

The Cultural Forum is Sponsored by Mr. Gustav' Berenholz

Advertising in The Jewish News Gets Results
Place Your Ad Today. Call 354 6060

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forged. If we enter into the ledger
As the building of the Taberna- of life only the sensational, the
cle is completed, we are presented
scintillating, the dramatic, then,
in this week's sidra with a lengthy
like Moses, we shall discover a de-
report meticulously listing every ficit in our accounts, and find that
detail of the multi-faceted produc-
the books of life do not balance.
tion. In our rabbinic literature we
Part of what troubles our
are also presented with the first Jewish life in America is our ten-
balance sheet mentioned in re- dency to accentuate only the
corded history. The Midrash re-
dramatic and extraordinary parts
lates that when Moses completed
the building of the Tabernacle, he
turned to the Israelites and said,
"Now I shall give you a financial Pekude: Exodus
report on your contributions to
38:21-40:38. I Kings
this project."
When Moses completed his ac-
7:51-8:21.
counting, however, he discovered
to his dismay that his books did
not balance. Tradition records
with fine precision that the deficit of our tradition. As a result, our
was exactly 1,775 shekalim! religious lifestyles today often
Moses was deeply concerned by center around birth, bar/bat
this discrepancy. Now he thought mitzvah, marriage and death —
the Israelites will have reason to as if Judaism had little to say
say that Moses took the money, about the prosaic events that
come in between these moving
that he dipped his hand into the
till and helped himself to com- rites of passage.
We have also taken to heart the
munal funds.
It would not have been the first brilliant teaching of Rabbi Sam-
unfounded suspicion or accusa- son Raphael Hirsch that the
tion against Moses, who was not `:catechism of the Jew is his calen-
always a popular leader. But dar" — and we have conveniently
then, God illuminated his eyes forgotten that the calendar has
and he realized that he had hon- 365 days, not just a dozen fasts
is
estly spent the missing shekalim and feasts. Our authentic faith by
Halachah,
expressed
through
or
hooks
which
kept
vavim
on the
the tabernacle together; for the means of which our sublime ideals
tabernacle was a portable, pre- are put into practice in the every-
fabricated sanctuary, and the day life of the individual, and the
parts connected to each other by judgement of Torah permeates
every aspect of human behavior.
means of these small metal hooks.
It is a worthwhile lesson to take
When Moses told this to his
people, they were appeased and with us from this week's Torah
satisfied that they had received portion: If sometimes we feel that
proper accountability for the con- the ledger of life shows a deficit we
struction of the tabernacle cannot account for; if the books of
our lives do not balance, and the
(Shemot Rabbah 51:4).
What is the essence and the expenditures of effort and emo-
moral of this story? It is that even tion are not compensated by an
a Moses can overlook the plain, income of joy and satisfaction — it
the simple, the ordinary. Yet may very well be because we have
there can be no inner or com- been overlooking the obvious and
munal peace unless we account the routine, and paying a bit too
for that which the vavim (hooks) much attention to the sensational
and the dramatic which, in the
symbolize: that which is vital and
long run, often prove to be ephem-
necessary, but not always
glamorous and exciting. Even a eral and transient.
Life may seem dull — but it
Moses can sometimes forget that
need not be so. Life can be a poem.
life has its justification in the lit-
And the poem of a man's life is not
tle things that occur to us every
written all at once, in a sudden
day.
Is this not true of all of life? A frenzy of inspiration. It is care-
fully composed of little verses con-
career or profession is a success or
failure not because of the rare tributed by every day nobly lived;
triumphs or glaring disappoint-_ by the rhyme of the Shabbat con-
ments that come forcibly to public cluding the stanza of the week,
and by the rhythm of a consistent
attention, but because of day-to-
day conduct and gradual progress. aspiration for a life made beauti-
In fact, the big achievements are ful and meaningful by Torah and
usually no more than the result of tradition.
long, patient plodding.
It is so with all human rela-
tions. The test of loyalty comes not
BBYO Program
in the dramatic moments, but in
the dull years; not in how you On Brotherhood
handle a crisis of a lifetime, but in
Washington — Leaders of the
how you handle yourself in a
lifetime of crisis; not in the singu- B'nai B'rith Youth Organization
lar moments, when heroism is ex- announced that they have
pected of you, but in the endless adopted brotherhood as their
hours when nothing is expected of new program priority for the
you because no one seems to care coming year.
Entitled "People Are People,"
very much. It is not on the peaks of
joy or in the valleys of grief, but on the program will focus on inter-
the plateaus thaV, roll on faith, inter-racial, and intergen-
endlessly, day by day, that the erational issues with a
real business of life,is carried .on; , strengthening of brotherhooe ,
'teN W.% tNre'that "nue+de;tittitly
throughout.



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