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February 23, 2012 - Image 33

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-02-23

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>> Torah portion


ver the last two weeks we
read in the Torah of the
single most important event
in human history — Revelation at
Mount Sinai. In this•week's parshah,
T'rumah, and continu-
ing for the next seven
weeks, the Torah will deal
almost exclusively with
the Mishkan, the por-
table Tabernacle that will
hold the Ark and the Ten
Commandments. At the
beginning of T'rumah, God
commands Moses saying,
"Let them [the Israelites]
make Me a sanctuary that
I may dwell among them."
Why are there so many
chapters about the Mishkan directly
after the emotional events of Sinai?
For the Israelites, the Exodus
from Egypt was the liberating event
that made them a nation. But it is
Revelation, and the Israelites' life-
altering experience of standing
at Sinai that gave them a purpose
for continuing to be a nation. The
detailed building of the Mishkan, the
Ark and its various items keeps the
immediacy of Sinai's events present
in the daily lives of the people.
Our tradition states that we were
all present at Sinai, every Jew from
every generation. Our tradition also
states that Torah, what God revealed
at Sinai, must be accepted in every
generation. So, today, we also con-
tinue to have the challenge of keeping
the immediacy of the events of Sinai
present in our daily lives.
God, in God's wisdom, provides
the Israelites and us with ways to
bring Revelation into our daily lives.
The first way is by doing what God
commanded. Parshat Yitro and
Mishpatim present a blueprint for a
just and ethical society that is as con-
cerned for the poor and the orphaned
as we are about ourselves. By fulfill-
ing God's commandments, we con-
tinue to bring Sinai into our lives.
Another way that we keep Sinai
with us is through the observance

Maimonides Society of Southeastern Michigan and
American Physicians and Friends for Medicine in Israel
are proud to present

of sacred time. Shabbat and festi-
vals, times that God commanded us
to observe, are times when we set
aside our preoccupations and build
what Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel
called "cathedrals in time
where we can become
attuned to holiness in
order to fully contem-
plate God's Revelation. By
observing the Jewish cal-
endar, we continue to bring
Sinai into our lives.
A third way to keep
Sinai in our daily lives is
through the sanctifica-
tion of space. Rabbi Isaac
Abravanel, a 15th-century
commentator, asked, "Why
did God command the construction
of the Mishkan as if God were an
object limited in space? After all, God
said through the prophet Isaiah, 'the
heavens are My throne, and the earth
is My footstool; what kind of house
can you build Me!'"
Yet the Mishkan is not built for
God but for the Israelites to make
sure they did not forget the events
at Sinai. Situated at the center of the
Israelites camp, the Mishkan served
as a "portable" Sinai. Today, the syna-
gogue, like the Mishkan, is a place
where we are conscious of God's
nearness. It is a place where we come
together at the most pivotal moments
in our lives. Through these times and
others, we sanctify space by bringing
God's presence into our lives and into
the lives of others.
The observance of God's com-
mandments, the sanctification of
time and the sanctification of space.
These are the tools that God gave to
our ancestors and to us to keep the
immediacy of Revelation present
in our daily lives. By doing so, we,
like all of the generations before us,
will accept Torah for ourselves and
continue to know the feeling of God's
presence among us.

Military Medical Research in
the Israeli Defense Forces:

Protecting and Sauing
Life in Combat


LtC Voss! Mandel, MD

Israeli Defense Forces, Medical Corp.

March 6, 2012 • 7:00 p.m.

D. Dan and Betty Kahn Building
Eugene and Marcia Applebaum
Jewish Community Campus
6600 W. Maple Road • West Bloomfield

RSVP by March 1 • www.jewishdetroit.org/maimonides

For more information contact Jeff Lazor, 248.205.2535 or jlazor@jfmd.org

Maimonides Society
Dr. Jeffrey Forman
Dr. Joel Kahn

American Physicians and
Friends for Medicine in
Israel Representatives:
Dr. Elie Basse
Dr. Robert Kelman
Dr. Jeffrey Devries

Hosted by:
Dr. Steven Arbit
Dr. Marc Borovoy
Dr. Warren Brandes
Dr. Lawrence Dell

Dr. Michael Dorman
Dr. Alan Feldman
Dr. Conrad Giles
Dr. Judie Goodman
Dr. Dan Guyer
Dr. Renee Horowitz
Dr. Irvin Kappy
Dr. Ronald Kerwin
Dr. William Kestenberg
Dr. Howard Korman
Dr. Richard Krugel
Dr. Mark Kwartowitz
Dr. Kenneth Levin
Dr. Jay Levinson
Dr. Shlomo Mandel

Dr. Richard Mark
Dr. Michael Milshteyn
Dr. Steven Rapp
Dr. Michael Rasansky
Dr. Ronald Rasansky
Dr. Brian Roth
Dr. Bruce Ruben
Dr. Bernard Rubin
Dr. Marc Sakwa
Debbie Silverman, RN
Dr. David Sternberg
Dr. Richard Stoler
Dr. Richard Trosch
Dr. Sanford seder
Dr. Michael Wayne
Dr. Marc Weisman

Thank you to our corporate partner


Jon. C... Matrope../..t Oct.(

a in

Rabbi Robert Gamer is the rabbi at

Congregation Beth Shalom in Oak Park.


Michigan Chapter



ewish Federation


.1co,:beast,rn Michig.rn


February 23 • 2012


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