Vayakhel – Providing for others

21 … everyone whose generous spirit moved them came, bringing to YHWH  an offering for the work of the Tent of Meeting and for all its rituals and for the sacramental garments.

Exodus 35

Walk along a large body of water and listen to the waves at the water’s edge. A generous heart is like a lake full of sweet water. Until needed, it contains the essence of life – always there to sustain a traveler enroute to somewhere. The lake’s drops of water refresh and revive, requiring nothing in return from those who stop to drink.

How did that lake come to be? Was it formed over millennia by catching the runoff melting snow or the result of rivers flowing in and carving it?

Was it always there?

Will it survive unpolluted into the future?

22 Men and women came, all the generous hearted, bringing brooches and earrings, rings and pendants— all kinds of gold objects…

Exodus 35

Are we all born with a generous heart or do we develop it as we grow and change? If we are not endowed with such a heart, should we exploit those who do? Can a generous heart fail and shrivel, or does it shrink and dry up?

14 Let me again rejoice in your help; let a generous spirit sustain me.

Psalms 51

We seem to always be looking for that pristine lake to save us along insidiously troubled paths in life.  Once in a while I see that lake and find that heart when least expected.

Lake Michigan from Evanston
Lake Michigan from Evanston

3 Like a tree planted beside streams of water, which yields its fruit in season, whose foliage never fades, and whatever it produces thrives.

Psalms 1

Marvelous to behold and in disbelief I accept all of the gifts the heart of the generous soul can bestow. Receiving these gifts is so surprising and warming. Sometimes it is the gift of time spent together, or a thought shared in an offhand conversation or just a memory of encounter s past enriched by the presence of such a soul.

29 All the men and women whose generous hearts moved them to bring something for the work that the YHWH had commanded to be done through Moses, the children of Israel brought it as a contribution to YHWH.

Exodus 35

Refreshed and replenished I set out once again on my journey, changed forever by the outpouring of kindness from a generous soul.

32 I observed and took it to heart; I saw it and learned a lesson.

Proverbs 24

May we all reach the shores of that bountiful lake.

May we all feel the generosity of that bountiful heart.

May each one of us be able to give freely to others on their way.

Midrash Harabah and English translations by Rabbi Gail Shuster-Bouskila ©2021

Dedicated Marilyn Lieb Price [1]Price, Marilyn; Teutsch, David A.. From Gratitude to Blessings and Back . Resource Publications, an Imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers.
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Neil Young – Miner for a Heart of Gold


1 Price, Marilyn; Teutsch, David A.. From Gratitude to Blessings and Back . Resource Publications, an Imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers.