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Giving till you are told to stop: Parshat Vayakhel
As a forewarning I want to let everyone know that this post is about giving. This post though is not a shameless plug of our upcoming fundraiser event (The BB Bash: Be treated to an evening of tastes inspired by the locations along the roads that lead to our home on Devils Lake near Lincoln City. http://bbcamp.org/bbcampbash/) because this stuff is right in the text. The parshat is Vayakhel, and Moses has descended from Mount Sinai again, this time he starts by telling the people they are going to have to work. He tells them for the next 6 days you work, but then you must take a day off, it is the law. That is the Israelites learning about Shabbat for the first time. Moses then tells the people all of the stuff they are going to need to make, and what supplies they will need to do it with. (The way Moses explains things always make me think of what a great counselor he would make…I think I may have been through a camp staff training week where we had a program about that fact.)
So now we get to the part that is about giving. The text continues to use the words “every” and “all.” It seems like every paragraph started with “every”. It is speaking in universals about how this communal giving resulted in every man, woman and child who were so moved to donate, that they were giving every single thing they could. This resulted in a surplus of supplies which when Moses was told of it by some of Moses’ advisers he told everyone to stop the “work for the offering of the Holy,” (Exodus Chapter 36 verse 6.)
The fact that it says “work” is one of my favorite things in this portion. It mentions earlier in the portion any women who we able, were weaving goat hair. I love this so much because it establishes that the value of giving by doing is just as important as giving from the wallet.
Now here is the part where I dig in and make a request. How many times have you been told to stop giving? I have never been to a fundraiser or volunteer event where anyone has said “Please stop giving, you are all doing too much. You are making too much of a difference today and you need to stop.” I am sure every non-profit in the world would agree that they wish to see the day when they have to ask donors and volunteers to stop giving. So my request here is that you give. To where is up to you, but make it something you care about. It could be a camp, or a school, environmental organization, political cause, anything but it has to be something that you think is good for the world. How you do it is also up to you. Could be a big check, or an auction item, or a monthly shift at the animal shelter, you could start saving your pocket change (because even the little things do make a difference) and use it to plant a tree (that one merged environmental and money, I think I am getting a bit off track with these examples…anyway…) Thank you so much for reading. Shabbat Shalom and I hope you get a chance to give something this upcoming week!