Dana has the lovely custom of going for a photo outing in memory of her grandfather’s yahrtzeit. A couple of times now, I’ve tagged along. These were taken along the East River between 59th and 88th st.
It is such an honor for me to be here tonight, for the installation of my father Rabbi Randall Konigsburg.
Just this morning we read about the details, rites and rituals of the portable sanctuary. Over and over, we read that all was built to precise specification, according to God’s instructions. For example, one verse reads:
ויעש משה ככל אשר צוו ה’ אותו כן עשה
And Moses did all that God commanded him to do, so he did. (Exodus 40:16)
Dvar Torah given at Kehilat Hadar, February 1, 2014
Our topic today is the miskhan, the portable sanctuary assembled and disassembled and moved around the desert while B’nai Yisrael wander in the wilderness. Today we read a detailed description of its creation from soliciting the materials to the particulars of construction both of the structure itself and of the ritual items to be housed there. Despite their detail, It would be imprudent to try to use these descriptions to recreate the mishkan, the instructions are wholly insufficient. Yet the usually concise Torah devotes much time and space to this topic. Far more than is practical or, at least according to some, interesting. In study of Torah, both traditional and critical, such extensive description is treated as a measure of importance. Clearly, the Torah thinks the mishkan is important.
Spar believes that when women hold themselves to an impossible standard they, by definition, can never achieve everything they set out to do. Instead we all need to make decisions about our priorities and accept that some things won’t get done well, or at all.
One thing that stood out to me was Spar’s claim that today’s women can be so devoted to home, family, careers, etc, they neglect to join “forces to fight for something together.” Why? “we’re too busy trying to be perfect.” (p. 172)
It’s important for women to understand that their striving for the impossible isn’t just a personal problem- it’s a societal one. If we stop trying to do everything, perhaps we can find the time to make things better for those who will come after us.