There is a saying: “Ayn Kemach, Ayn Torah” – where there is no “bread” there can be no Torah. This week we read Parshat Terumah. Terumah means “contribution.” Parshat Terumah describes the contributions of cloth, skins, and precious items generously contributed by Bnai Israel to the building of the Mishkan: the portable spiritual sanctuary for the people while they traveled in the desert. A “mishkan,” is literally a “dwelling place.” In this week’s parshah, God declares: “They shall make me a Mishkan, so I may dwell among them” (Exodus 25:8). Later commentators refer to God’s “Shekhinah ” (from the same root as mishkan) as that dimension of God which dwells among the people. Perhaps, what brings God to dwell among the people are the very acts of generosity that build the “dwelling place” for God.
As we re-opened school this week we witnessed the generosity of our teachers, who welcomed students back with (socially distanced) open arms. We are incredibly grateful to our faculty, who, despite all of the challenges, changes, and obstacles, continue to generously offer learning, support, and care to each and every Heschel student.
I am also struck by the incredible generosity of our school community – parents, teachers, extended family members — who have stepped up to help us when the need is there. This week we received generous donations from families to help offset the costs of installing HEPA Air Purifiers in all our classrooms. We are also grateful for the generous gift of time and knowledge offered to us by our tireless volunteers, Chevra committee, and parent lay leaders.
May we continue to grow strong in all forms of generosity that make our school a “Mishkan,” a place where God dwells through Jewish teachings, mitzvot, and acts of kindness.