Dear Friend,

Reading the Torah portion of Vayakhel-Pekudei can feel like déjà vu. Haven’t we heard all this before? In fact, we have—in the portions of Terumah and Tetzaveh. First G‑d told us how to make the Tabernacle, and now the Torah is describing the actual construction. It seems kind of redundant.

As Shimon Posner writes in My Grandma’s Selective Memory, “The exhaustive repetition begs explanation, until we notice two words, "nediv libo," describing one who gave for the Tabernacle—that 'his heart was full of giving' . . . How do you get from divine concept to empirical reality? For that you need passion, a heart full of giving.”

It is uniquely satisfying to philosophize about Judaism, with its rich history and mystical ideas. But there is a second component that comes along with all the thinking, and that is the doing. Judaism has survived for over 3,000 years not because we are a nation of philosophers, but because we translate G‑d’s lofty will into action. But how do we keep doing without feeling that all this ritual, all these mitzvahs, are redundant? That takes “a heart full of giving.” That takes passion.

Comment below to let us know how you infuse your daily rituals with passion.

Sasha Friedman
on behalf of the Editorial Team