Updated: Feb 23, 2022
Parshat Vayakhel caps off a number of parshiyot on the theme of the Mishkan, the portable dwelling place of God. So much time and detail has been devoted to the description of what this dwelling is and what it is made of. Parshat Vayakhel asks those who with talents to contribute to the building of the Mishkan. Fast forward through Jewish history, the building and the daily maintenance of the building and what occurs in it has enabled so many to give in a myriad of ways.
For many years I worked at synagogues and it is a memory of a special congregant who year after year came in a to check and quietly change the lightbulbs in the synagogue. He, among with so many others in every synagogue have inspired this tribute to those who give in so many ways.
For Denis and for Linda and so many more,
מִי שֶׁבֵּרַךְ אֲבותֵינוּ אַבְרָהָם יִצְחָק וְיַעֲקב. הוּא יְבָרֵךְ אֶת כָּל הַקָּהָל הַקָּדושׁ הַזֶּה עִם כָּל קְהִלּות הַקּדֶשׁ.
For those who come in early and open the doors.
For those who make sure the Torah is rolled to the right place.
For those who change the lightbulbs,
dust the prayerbooks, polish the silver, fix the broken doors.
For those who hand out candy to the children.
הֵם וּנְשֵׁיהֶם וּבְנֵיהֶם וּבְנותֵיהֶם וְכָל אֲשֶׁר לָהֶם.
For those who create programs to keep people together.
For those who worry about financial viability.
For those who recall the past and plan for the future.
For those who make the annual reports and lead.
וּמִי שֶׁמְּיַחֲדִים בָּתֵּי כְנֵסִיּות לִתְפִלָּה. בְּתוכָם לְהִתְפַּלֵּל.
For those who remember traditions.
For those who innovate.
For those who dedicate.
For those who sponsor.
וּמִי שֶׁבָּאִים וּמִי שֶׁנּותְנִים נֵר לַמָּאור וְיַיִן לְקִדּוּשׁ וּלְהַבְדָּלָה וּפַת לְאורְחִים וּצְדָקָה לָעֲנִיִּים.
For those who teach.
For those who learn.
For those who stand guard.
For those who greet.
For those who lead and for those who follow.
וְכָל מִי שֶׁעוסְקִים בְּצָרְכֵי צִבּוּר בֶּאֱמוּנָה.
For those who beautify.
For those who launder.
For those who scrub and clean.
For those who cook and bake and serve.
For those who organize and those who participate.
הַקָּדושׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא יְשַׁלֵּם שכָרָם וְיָסִיר מֵהֶם כָּל מַחֲלָה וְיִרְפָּא לְכָל גּוּפָם וְיִסְלַח לְכָל עֲונָם
For those who give their money.
For those who give their time.
For those who give their energy.
For those who have ideas.
For those who implement those ideas.
. וְיִשְׁלַח בְּרָכָה וְהַצְלָחָה בְּכָל מַעֲשה יְדֵיהֶם
For those who read the torah.
For those who blow shofar.
For those who build the sukkah.
For those who lead the prayers.
For those who make a tenth.
For those who say amen.
For those who sing.
For those whose voices raise us up.
For those who show up.
עִם כָּל יִשרָאֵל אֲחֵיהֶם. וְנאמַר אָמֵן:
The Translation of the Yekum Purkan/Mishebeyrach*
He Who blessed our fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, will bless this entire holy congregation together with all the holy congregations, them, their wives and their sons and their daughters, and all that belong to them. Whoever dedicates synagogues for prayer, and whoever enters them to pray, and whoever donates lamps for lighting, wine for Kiddush and Havdalah, food for wayfarers, charity for the poor; and whoever occupies himself with the needs of the community— in a faithful manner— The Holy One, blessed is He, will pay them their reward, remove from them all sickness, heal their entire body, pardon all their iniquities, and send blessing, and success upon all the work of their hands, together with all of Israel, their brethren, and let us say, Amen. (Translation from Sefaria)
* I am aware that the version and translation of this text leaves out women. I will continue to search for another version which is more inclusive.
Exodus 35:20 Parshat Vayakhel
So the whole community of the Israelites left Moses’ presence.
And everyone who excelled in ability and everyone whose spirit was moved came, bringing to יהוה an offering for the work of the Tent of Meeting and for all its service and for the sacral vestments.
Men and women, all whose hearts moved them, all who would make an elevation offering of gold to יהוה, came bringing brooches, earrings, rings, and pendants* cf. Num. 31.50. —gold objects of all kinds.
Translation from Sefaria