My Dvar Torah - Caitlin Cable-Wolman
The first time I read my Torah portion I simply didn’t get it. After reading it a few times I was able see that God gave Moses commandments to follow. These were the bringing of olive oil for the lamp, the making of sacred garments for the priests, the conducting of an ordination ceremony, and the making of an incense altar. But what would all this mean and more importantly what could all this mean today? After much thought, I realized that the light which God instructed Moses to light is very similar to the Ner Tamid or Eternal Light which we see in our shul today. The light above the Ark is symbolic of this special light which Moses lit using very special and sacred, pure, olive oil. Moses followed a commandment which has resulted in it lasting thousands of years. As the light symbolizes the presence of God, it shows me that God is always watching over us. The light that we see above the Ark is always burning, providing us with a sense of security and foreverness. It makes me think of constant things in my life like the love of my family, which also provides me with a sense of safety and security. We live in a world where things change so fast and so often that we simply cannot keep up with it. Knowing that we follow teachings, customs and traditions which have been around for thousands of years, keeps us grounded. Of all these commandments, the ones that we see as we sit in shul today is the light above the Ark and the adornments on the Torah. The adornments on the Torah are symbolic of the special clothing made for the priests. In life we have firemen soldiers and policemen who wear special clothes in order to perform their duties. These clothes also make them stand out from everyone else and make them easy to identify. In the same way the priests, having a special role, were dressed in a way which made them stand out from the general congregation. These clothes no doubt gave them great respectablity amongst the people as well as a sense of honor. In the same way we dress and adorn our Torah with these timeless symbols. Making the Torah beautiful and special to everyone. I proudly carried the Torah around the shul earlier in the service and it is very obvious that the Torah has a place of honor and in the hearts of our people. Having said all this I now realize that it is possible for commandments which have been put in place thousands of years ago to have meaning in our lives today. I cannot imagine ever walking into shul and not seeing the comforting Ner Tamid any more than I can imagine a Saturday morning service without a Torah reading or without the Torah being carried around the shul making it a very personal part of our lives. It is important that we follow God’s commandments and pass them on to our children. As they have been passed on to me today, I shall pass them onto my children in the future. By obeying God’s commandments, we can keep them alive for thousands of years to come.