• Gabbai

Ki Tisa – A Sabbath for Generations

The way we use our free time says a lot about us.

When we are at work, or in any other framework during which our time is structured, we follow the routine and get done those tasks which we are assigned or which we choose to prioritise. Outside of such a framework, however, when nothing is urgently due and we are under no particular time constraints, our choices of activities reflect, to a degree, our values and sense of self.

After describing some final details of the Mishkan’s instructions, including the anointing oil and the incense as well as the appointment of Betzalel who would oversee the entire project, the Torah comes back to the Mitzvah of Shabbat, which had been briefly addressed earlier in the context of the 10 Commandments. One of the prominent aspects of Shabbat is its proscription of many activities that we typically engage in throughout the week. We may not perform any melacha, any creative activity (which was utilized in the construction and function of the Tabernacle as defined by our tradition).

The passage concludes with the verses recited in the Kiddush of Shabbat morning. “The children of Israel shall observe the Sabbath, to make the Sabbath an eternal covenant for their generations…” (Exodus 31:16)

It is not far-fetched to speculate that one of the purposes of the Sabbath was to create a space in time which is not governed by the routine of the daily grind, a day set apart particularly by a restriction on such activities which commonly take up our time of the day. In other words, a goal of the Sabbath is idleness from such routine. In his commentary Hadrash V’ha’iyu