Valuing each other’s gifts


Reading about the building of the Mishkan this year, I have been struck by the fact that the Israelites are asked to donate items that may have great value in an urban society but that have little value to them in the wilderness in which they find themselves.  Gold and silver may be beautiful, but they are really just dead weight to a people on the move who have no way to trade them for the things they need.  Only when the people open their hearts and donate what they have been carrying to the community do they begin to see its value.  Alone, these items are nothing; combined with the gifts of all of the other people in the community, they come together to form something both beautiful and holy, a pathway between earth and heaven, a conduit connecting the people and God.  When we come together as a community, whether on Shabbat or on any other occasion, it might not always be obvious to us what the value is of the spiritual gifts we or others are carrying.  But when we open our hearts and give what we carry in service to the community, then we can begin to see the value in others’ gifts and in our own.  May we always see the  value of the tapestry we weave together from the offerings of our hearts, and may its beauty inspire us to come closer to and value each other.