Yom Kippur 5770-2009

"Shabbat Shabbaton--The Ultimate Shabbat"

When does true creativity occur? Jewish tradition maintains that introspection and contemplation are essential to creativity. When G-d rested on the Sabbath day, He not only ceased working, but stopped to evaluate His creation. Contemplation, therefore, is the purpose of Yom Kippur as well, the "Shabbat Shabbaton," the Ultimate Shabbat.

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Pekudei 5765-2005

"Bezalel: the Artist who Broke the Mold"

In parashat Pekudei, the Tabernacle is finally completed and erected. No one involved in its fashioning deserved to celebrate the completion of G-d's "dwelling place" more than Bezalel, who supervised its construction. No one deserved to glory in its beauty more than Bezalel, and yet this artist humbly fulfilled every instruction that he received from G-d, and did not feel himself at all reduced by being a mere "implementor." There is much we can all learn from Bezalel's humility and self-effacing attitude.

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Vayakhel 5765-2005

"Bezalel's Artistic Legacy"

Throughout the ages, Judaism has struggled with its mixed attitude toward art and sculpture. One of the few unconditionally positive statements about art is the Torah's description in parashat Vayakhel of Bezalel's many talents. Aside from his prodigious skills, Bezalel was also a master teacher of art, and it is not unlikely that, because of his artistry and singular devotion, we today enjoy the aesthetic gifts that have been passed down through him from generation to generation.

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