After much anticipation and many detailed instructions, the building of the mishkan, the Holy Tabernacle begins in earnest. Moses again calls for contributions from the people, both in wealth and in skill, from all whose heart so moves him or her. Israelite men and women respond so fully and generously that Moses is forced to ask them to stop bringing gifts.
Imagine that. Imagine such generosity, such overwhelming abundance, and–with regularity. The text says, “And they brought additional contributions every single morning. (Exodus 36:4)
While there is much that I could write about the importance of giving, especially with several special and amazing fundraising events coming up in our congregation (Designer Bag Bingo, Candy Bingo, Make Me Laugh Comedy Night). I want to focus on something else. How do you properly give thanks for something when is offered every day without fail?
People give all the time in our community, in big ways, but mostly in small ways. We give $18 to honor a loved one’s yahrzeit. We offer to come to help set up for an event. We fill in at the front desk. We bring food. We pick up someone’s else’s kids after school. The list goes on and on. As someone in the building all the time, I see it all. One can become inured to it and take the regularity of the giving for granted.
It is humanly impossible to say thank you every time. But it isn’t enough to say thank you once and move on. Don’t just say “thanks for dinner.” Appreciate the time and effort it takes to plan a meal, shop for groceries, peel and chop the vegetables, and stand over the stove on tired feet.
It is easy to give one time, but it is much more difficult to give with regularity, and even more so, every single day. How difficult and how beautiful. I am struck, once again, by all the detail in this parsha about the gifts and the mishkan, and it occurs to me that perhaps the giving of these details are the Torah’s way of reminding us that God sees and appreciates all the work and every single offering, no matter how simple or how ordinary.
Let us grow in our awareness and gratitude of all the little and most regular gifts in our lives. And, so too, let us be aware of God’s constant appreciation that even our smallest contribution builds up our community, our families, and our world.