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The second set of tablets Moses delivers from God to the Israelites (the ones he doesn't smash) are different in a very specific way. This time, Moses carves the stones, and God inscribes the laws. This time, they're a collaboration.
Chinese New Year. Mardi Gras. Halloween. Carnival. Masquerade. So many cultures have holidays or celebrations in which costumes feature. Right off the bat, this reminds us that not only small children like to play dress up. There’s some sort of need that many of us have to shake things up and embrace a different persona.
You may know this about me, but I am a creature of habit. In particular, my favorite habit is a routine we started when we had children; it's the nightly ritual of singing the Shema together at bedtime. This routine, done day after day, provides me with a way to verbalize my connection to my children and our faith.
There’s a joke that says the best of rabbis only give three sermons, while the rest of us have only one sermon that we give over and over. Most humor contains at least a grain of truth, and this is no exception. It’s not just rabbis. People tend to have certain commitments which help them organize the world quickly with a minimal amount of mental energy.
Early on in our personal Jewish journeys, we learn that God is everywhere and needs no invitation. But then why do the Israelites build the Mishkan (the Tabernacle)? Though we no longer have the detailed building described in Parshat Terumah, we still "invite" God to dwell with us through our actions.
Anger. Frustration. Anxiety. Resentment. As some people begin to get their inoculations, other people who are in a higher risk group or otherwise eligible are feeling frustrated that they can’t find a place to get the vaccine. Signing up is primarily done by computer, and not all of our older neighbors have computer access or feel comfortable navigating the sites. That’s pretty frustrating.
The current version of who we are may seem quite different to those who knew us when. Similarly, people who only know us as adults may be surprised when they learn things about our former selves. The Torah reminds us not to dwell on memories that no longer reflect reality, but to embrace the present.