Daily Readings

From our Torah portion this week (i.e., Vayakhel) we read: “Let every wise-hearted (חֲכַם־לֵב) among you come and make all that the LORD has commanded” (Exod. 35:10). The sages comment that none of the people actually had the skills to fashion the detailed furnishings and accouterments of the sanctuary, but they had something even better – a passionate desire to do God’s will, and this enabled them to access God’s help to do what was needed. The purpose of the commandment was to involve the heart, to refine the character: “And everyone whose heart moved him brought what was needed…” (Exod. 35:22). God could have created the sanctuary “yesh me’ayin,” simply out of nothing, but he wanted the heart of his people to express their desire for his presence in their midst. The same is true for the inner sanctuary of our hearts…

Just as God creates the world in chesed (עוֹלָם חֶסֶד יִבָּנֶה), so the wise of heart are able to build up the sanctuary of God. “Love builds up.” Being “wise of heart” (חֲכַם־לֵב) means having emotional maturity, humility, and rightly ordered affections. Such heart wisdom does not depend on how smart you are or what sort of education you might have, but rather whether you are able to emotionally comprehend a situation, whether you are willing to allow the heart to discern the inner meaning of a message. The wise of heart are those who “build up” God’s kingdom and help provide sanctuary for others…

The beginning of wisdom is the awe of the LORD (Psalm 111:10), that is, relating to reality with reverence and learning to distinguish what is sacred. Note that God does not build the mishkan directly, but He wants us to bring our hearts and creativity to the task. Practically speaking being chacham-lev (חֲכַם־לֵב), “wise of heart,” means knowing what you must do to help reveal divine beauty within your experience of life.

After Moses saw all the work that was done for the building of the Tabernacle, he blessed the people saying, “May it be the will of God that His Presence dwells within the work of your hands” (Exod. 39:33-43; Psalm 90:17). Rashi notes that even if a person feels entirely inadequate for the task, the Torah affirms that he should nevertheless do his or her part. “Every assembly for the sake of heaven must in the end stand” (Avot 4:11). When we apply our hearts to serve God, the Lord will give us the Spirit to empower our way; if we make ourselves his willing vessel, He will fill us to the full.

“Do your best, pray that it’s blessed, and God will take care of the rest…” As any good cook knows, the “secret ingredient” for the tastiest food is the love that goes into making it. Likewise in “making a place for God” the most important factor is heartfelt willingness to be present before the Lord — to show up and say, Hineini Adonai — “Here I am, O Lord!” We first take the step of faith and then the sea will split and we will be able to walk on through. [Hebrew for Christians]14514514 Comments62 Sha

Posted by Neaseno.

From my daily readings….

Published by neaseno

I was born on Powers Bluff in Wood County, Wisconsin, into a traditional community of Neshnabek. I was raised speaking only native languages, and learned to speak English upon entering school at the age of 6. As of this writing, I am one of 5 remaining Heritage Fluent Speakers of Potawatomi.

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