Vayak’heil – Torah in Haiku

cubs-zambrano20winning20pitcher11From whence comes talent? ….
Our parents, teachers, mentors? ….
Are all thanks to G-d? ———

This week we are told something interesting about those selected to build the Tabernacle. First, Moses tells the people that ” … G-d has singled out by name Bezalel … endowing him with a divine spirit of skill, ability and knowledge in every kind of craft.” (Exodus 35:30-31) We learn that Bazalel with work with Oholiab because both of them “have been endowed with the skill to do any work.” (Ex. 35:35)

When it’s time for individuals to step forward to work for Bazalel & Oholiab, General Contractors for the Mishkan, Moses “called … every skilled person whom G-d had endowed with skill, everyone who excelled in ability, to undertake the task and carry it out.” (Ex. 36:2)

This is a story about a project that perhaps requires divine inspiration and talent, But the idea that G-d endows us with skill is often reflected in the comments and actions of talented people, particularly athletes, singers and actors. The picture accompanying this post is of then-Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano pointing towards the heavens, something he did at the end of every inning he finished. When singer/actress Jennifer Hudson got a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame she accepted the honor by saying “Look what G-d can do.” We’ve heard Oscar acceptance speeches and post-championship press conferences where it sometimes seems G-d is given more credit than those who helped the athlete or artist use his or her talents to their fullest extent.

Don’t our parents, teachers, coaches and mentors have something to do with our success? We may have been born with particular talents, especially if there is a physical element. But whatever the talent, it had to be nurtured and we had to practice. I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t be thankful for what G-d has given to us. But we’re different from Bezalel, Oholiab and those chosen to build the Mishkan. When we succeed it should be those who helped us nurture our talents who get most of the thanks.

Ed Nickow | The Torah In Haiku

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