Rabbi Ismar Schorsch
Our parashah offers a provocative example of their creative touch.
It opens unexcitingly with an inventory of the metals used in the construction of the Tabernacle, more specifically with a financial statement of their worth. Moses felt obliged to state for the record the amountof gold, silver, and copper that went into the artifacts of the sanctuary. In the first verse we are told: "These are the records of the Tabernacle, the Tabernacle of the Pact, which were drawn up at Moses' bidding . . ."(38:21).
The sums are vast. With the weight of a talent equal to 3,000 shekels, Moses deployed 29 talents and 730 shekels of gold, 100 talents and 1,775 shekels of silver, and 70 talents and 2,400 shekels of copper in the tabernacle. It should be noted that these quantities were voluntarily given by the public in response to a fundraising campaign. Stirred by the prospect of an ongoing presence of God in their midst, the Israelites had shared of their wealth unstintingly, more than was actually needed (36:4-7).
Example for Future Leaders
A midrash accentuated what was implicit in the narrative. In rendering an account to his donors, Moses had set an example for future leaders. Despite his closeness to God, Who said of him that "he is trusted (ne'eman) throughout My household" (Numbers 12:7), Moses chose to give an accounting of the funds collected to his flock.
It is for this reason that the verse in Proverbs, "Adependable (emunot--same root as above) man will receive many blessings" (28:20) describes Moses to a tee. Irrespective of his power, he subjected himself to the norms of good governance. His behavior proved to be a blessing because it exemplified that confidence in a leader requires transparency.
A related midrash made the same point in rabbinic terms. According to the Mishnah, "No office for communal financial matters is to be instituted with less than two officers" (Shekalim 5:2). Yet it is apparent throughout the Torah that Moses governed alone. Still to be above reproach, Moses complied with rabbinic practice. He invited Aaron's son Ithamar to perform the audit (38:21). In regard to public funds, there must not be aniota of suspicion about misappropriation.
Thus when a priest in the Temple would withdraw money to payfor the daily communal sacrifices from the room in which it was held, he always entered in a garment without cuffs or pockets. Religious leaders administering public funds ought to be unblemished in the eyes of their constituents as well as in the eyes of God, which is why the Torah explicitly states, "You shall be clear before the Lord and before Israel" (Numbers 32:22) (Shemot Raba 51:1-2).
Accountability, then, restricts malfeasance, an ancient insight that has lost none of its relevance. The pervasive distrust of corporate America is surely a consequence of the reckless abandonment of honest accountability by all too many business titans in the nineties. Driven by the pressure of quarterly earnings and the temptation of staggering wealth, chief executives of public companies reached for unprecedented levels of compensation, rushed into conflicts of interest and wreaked havoc with accounting procedures. Rarely have so few done such harm to the reputation of their peers or the savings of the small investor.
Judaism is nothing if not a set of insistent reminders that we humans are accountable for our actions. Free will is not a gift to be abused. The Talmud posits that the first question to be put to us in the world-to-come will bear on our most basic need--to earn a living: "Did you conduct your business affairs in a trustworthy manner?" (BT Shabbat 31a).
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for additional insights on this week's parsha and others, visit The JTS Torah Commentary archive: http://www.jtsa.edu
May Their Memories Be For a Blessing
3/1/2014 (29 Adar I)
3/4/2014 (2 Adar II)
Rabbi Julius Shuback
3/7/2014 (5 Adar II)
3/8/2014 (6 Adar II)
Rose Lovinger Columbus
3/11/2014 (9 Adar II)
Sharon Florence Weisberg
3/12/2014 (10 Adar II)
3/14/2014 (12 Adar II)
3/17/2014 (15 Adar II)
3/21/2014 (19 Adar II)
Jewel Dorothy Shuback
3/24/2014 (22 Adar II)
3/25/2014 (23 Adar II)
3/30/2014 (28 Adar II)
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Friday, February 28th
6 p.m. Kabbalat Shabbat/Maariv,
Saturday, March 1st
9 a.m. Services, Sanctuary
10 a.m. Supervised Youth Activities, Room 3 for ages 12 and under.
Kiddush Lunch is sponsored by Don Nusholtz, Dr. Marc Nusholtz & Dr. Mary Wilger & Brian & Roxane Newhouse in honor of Don's 89th birthday, Marc & Mary's anniversary & Brian's birthday.
11 a.m. Teen D'var Torah Cocoa Cafe, Social Hall
11 a.m. Children's Shabbat Workshop, Room 8
Click here to help with Kiddush Lunch
*Kiddush Lunch is available through donations to the Kiddush Lunch Fund, the generosity of weekly sponsors, and volunteer efforts of our congregants and regular attendees. Please e-mail
or call the synagogue office if you would like to sponsor a kiddush lunch. To sponsor as part of a "group," please e-mail Joanna Abramson
or Mindy Shuback
. You may also make a donation to the Kiddush Lunch Fund by clicking here. To sign up to help prepare Kiddush Lunch please use the "volunteer spot" button above.
Purim is just around the corner.
FAMILY NIGHT AT MINYAN, MARCH 9TH, WE WILL BE ASSEMBLING MISHLOACH MANOT FOR SENIORS. CLICK ON THE VOLUNTEER SPOT LINK TO SIGN UP TO ATTEND MINYAN, STAY FOR DINNER AND HELP ASSEMBLE THE PACKAGES.
NEXT SISTERHOOD MEETING:
MONDAY, MARCH 10TH
7 P.M., BI/TKA CHAPEL
Upcoming Youth and Family Activities
FAMILY CAMP 2014 MARCH 21st-23rd
NCJW Annual Jewish Youth Awards
National Council of Jewish Women, Greater Detroit is proud to continue the tradition of honoring exceptional high school students who demonstrate leadership within the Jewish community, and is awarding scholarship money through its annual Jewish Youth Awards. All High School Seniors are invited to apply. 2014 AWARDS: DEADLINE for application submission is Friday, March 7, 2014 at noon. The application form and all supporting documentation must be received at the NCJW/Greater Detroit office, 26400 Lahser Rd., Suite 306, Southfield MI 48033-2675 no later than noon on Friday, March 7, 2014.
Awards totaling $5,800 will be distributed to the finalists at the Awards Ceremony on April 27, 2014.
1st Place: $2500; 2nd Place: $1300; 3rd & 4th Places: $500; and 4 Honorable Mention Prizes of $250. click here for complete award information and application.
NEXT PARENT PLANNING MEETING FOR PURIM CARNIVAL:
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 25TH
7:00 P.M. AT B'NAI MOSHE
Family Night at Minyan, one Sunday/month.
Bring your family to help make minyan at 5 p.m. and enjoy pizza dinner in the social hall following services. MARK YOUR CALENDAR: 3/9 (we will assemble Mishloach Manot for BI seniors), 4/27, 6/1
Click on the Volunteer Spot Link to sign up for March 9th Dinner and minyan, and mishloach manor preparations.
Upcoming Shabbat Youth Activities
SHABBAT CHILDREN'S WORKSHOP DATES for youth ages 7-12. 30 minutes of tefilla and parsha fun.
11-11:45 a.m., ROOM 9
MARCH 1ST, APRIL 5th, MAY 3 (10:30 A.M.)
JUNE 7 YOUTH SHABBAT
SHABBAT TEEN ACTIVITIES
D'VAR TORAH COCOA CAFE
for ages 13-17,
11:00-11:45 a.m., Social Hall
Listen to the D'var Torah in the main sanctuary, then give your take over cocoa and cider. Kiddush lunch following, with Spirited singing and Birkat Hamazon led by teens.
e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
MARCH 1ST, APRIL 5TH, MAY 3RD
To stay current on all youth and family activities, contact Ilana Glazier to join the B'nai Israel Families Facebook Group.
"Reflections on the Siddur," with Dr. Mitch Parker
Saturdays, 11-11:45 a.m.
March 8 and 22
April 12 and 26 May 10 and 24 June 7 and 21
Mitch will focus on Ashrei, Aleinu, the Kaddish, Adon Olam, Yigdal, Hallel and Birkat Hamazon.
Class meets in the lower level, Room 9.
Lunch and Learn Series
with Hillel Buechler, Ramah Fellow
First Tuesday of every month
Next session: 12:15 p.m., March 4th
Meet at Barnes and Noble on Orchard Lake Road Bring your own lunch. There is no charge to attend. Future Dates: March 4th, April 8th. Please e-mail Hillel Buechler if you plan to attend.
Shabbat Shiur Series
Shabbat Afternoons, last Saturday of the month following lunch and prior to minha. Shiur (class) will meet in the chapel. All our welcome. There is no charge to attend.
1 Ronald Gadoth-Goodman
2 Joshua Abramson
3 Donald Nusholtz
7 Oren Duer
8 Luke Zeff
9 Rita Goldstone
12 Loraine Kuhn
13 Frank Ellias
14 Larry Charlupski
20 David Pappas
20 Ariel Taub
23 Mindy Shuback
24 Talya Berger
24 Jeremy Rosenberg
26 Karen Orzach
26 Roi Orzach
29 Brittany Beider
29 Mark Webber
30 Ryan Schmeltz
31 Sharon Knoppow
31 Meredith Weingarden
If your birthday or anniversary information is not listed, please email the synagogue so we can update our records.
Caring Community Information
Refuah Sh'leimah/Wishing a Speedy Recovery.
Please e-mail Michael Golob or call the synagogue: 248-432-2729 to add a name to our communal mishebeirach list.
Shiva assistance: To assist in providing a shiva meal for BI member families and/or if you are able to lead a shiva minyan, please e-mail the synagogue.
Upcoming TKA/BI Joint Opportunities
TKA Sisterhood Book Talk and Swap
Sunday, March 2nd, 2 p.m., Social Hall
Connie Silver to lead conversation on Great Reads from 2013
and will suggest what to read next. Take books home to read - swap ones you enjoyed. Please bring up to 5 books to swap for others you might enjoy. Everyone welcome. rsvp to email@example.com or call Connie: 248-851-2149.
SOUTH OAKLAND SHELTER
HOUSING OF GUESTS AT TKA/BI,
MARCH 23-30, 2014
TKA will once again be housing guests for one week from South Oakland Shelter. There are many ways to get involved and help. Everyone's help is needed! Chuck Seigerman and Steve Dines are the BI point people for this. Click here to sign up online or e-mail Steve or Chuck with any questions.
Click here to assist with 3/27 Dinner
Click here to assist with 3/25 Dinner
B'nai Israel Synagogue is affiliated with USCJ, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.