The Real Value of a Half-Shekel

Parshat Terumah begins with God asking Moses to embark on the ultimate capital campaign. According to God, Moses is supposed to oversee the construction of elaborate objects, including the ark that will hold the tablets given to Moses on Mount Sinai, an ornate golden menorah and the portable temple and altar, or mishkan, that the Israelites will use as dedicated holy space to make daily sacrifices for the next 40 years. For a people that was recently freed from more than 400 years of slavery, this was an ambitious task to say the least. What made this task even more challenging was that God did not ask for run-of-the-mill materials to build these important objects. Quite the opposite. Go

It's the Climb

Inspired by Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg All too often, we think about connection with the sacred — with the holy, with God — as being about warm, fuzzy feelings. Those profound moments in prayer and meditation when something feels like it’s opening up, even just a little. And yet. Parashat Mishpatim makes it clear that even the most powerful theophany isn’t, in the scheme of things, all that important. The work of covenant, this portion shows us, is sometimes daily and plodding — involving a lot less feeling and a lot more action. It’s not a coincidence that Mishpatim also includes the commandments neither to mistreat the stranger nor oppress the widow or the orphan. It also demands that we not

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