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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Terumah 5765-2005

"Identifying the Essentials of Life"

Moses Mendelssohn, the German-Jewish philosopher, identifies three basic elements of workmanship that are employed in the building of the Tabernacle: essential arts, useful arts and ornamental arts. These categories are important in order to identify the labors of humankind and ascribe value to them. Their identity also helps us discern which skills and arts are useful and essential, and those that may lead to overindulgence.

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