This week's parsha is Terumah, Exodus 25:1 through 27:19. The haftarah is I Kings 5:26 through 6:13. The word Terumah means gifts.
This week we begin reading about the construction of the tabernacle, which takes up most of the rest of Exodus. As with all good builders, God begins with a detailed blueprint, the instruction he gives to Moses.
Translation is the JPS modern version.
The first sentence of the parsha reads: "(1)The Lord spoke to Moses saying,(2) tell the Israelite people to bring me gifts; you will accept gifts for me from every person whose heart so moves him." The gifts are to be items rare and beautiful, using rare and precious materials.
The haftarah was chosen because it tells of Solomon beginning to build the Temple in Jerusalem which is similar to the beginning of the tabernacle. Its first two sentences tell of his treaty with Hiram, but verse 27 begins: "King Solomon imposed forced labor on all Israel; the levy came to 30,000 men." This paragraph tells how the forced labor was organized.
In one way this is a parallel, but in that very fact comes an enormous contrast. The Temple is not built by those whose hearts so move them. Where is Solomon's wisdom when it matters? The difference will be even clearer later on in Exodus, when God himself names the artist who will be inspired to build the tabernacle, Bezalel. The building of the tabernacle is an act of love, but the building of the Temple is done under compulsion.
Members of the Daily Kos community are sometimes - and with the economy sluggish, and so many unemployed for long periods, it is more often than it should be - moved to help each other with money or other necessities. Friday marks the funeral in Maine of commonmass' fiance, Terun Sabre Weed from a sudden unexplained illness. Thanks to the generosity of Kossacks (special thanks to llbear and Edrie) commonmass will have his mother and brother at his side though they are coming from Texas.
Kossack laurustina, who writes so movingly about the last year of her daughter Alice who until then had been her son, never told us that both she and her husband were dealing with job losses at the same time, but now is asking for help to pay their rent. There is a fundraiser for the fund Alicia's Voice, named for Zwoof's daughter who was killed in an act of domestic violence.
I have been the recipient of community support here several times, and feel grateful both for much needed funds and a community quilt. Let's not forget the quilts as a form of community support. Diary series like the quilt diaries, Monday Night Cancer Club and Kosability have provided many Kossacks with very real support.
Some congregations use this parsha to ask for gifts from those whose hearts so move them. Here the group Community Fundraisers offers opportunities for us when our hearts so move us.