Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Bringing Our Own Gifts

This past Shabbat we read from Bamidbar (The Book of Numbers, 7:12-88) about the offerings brought by the leaders of the tribes of Israel. These offerings were in honor of the inauguration of the portable Tabernacle - which brought the divine presence into their lives for forty years of wandering in the wilderness, and served until the building of the temple in Jerusalem.

Each of the leaders of the Tribes brought an identical offering and each offering is described in similar detail. Why does the Torah spend so much time enumerating the details of identical offerings?

The Midrash explains that although the twelve offerings were identical, each one was brought with a unique and individual intention; an inner essence that related to each tribe's special mission in the world. So too, each of us brings unique and special gifts into our world. And when we share those gifts for the common good, we bring spirituality and meaning into each other's lives; and this brings the divine presence into our own lives.

What gifts have we brought today?