Command the Children of Israel and they shall take to you pure olive oil, beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn tamid, constantly. [Shemot 27:20]
The placement of these verses is curious, as the more appropriate place would have been in last week’s parsha, together with the making of the menorah. The verse also stresses not just the lighting of the menorah, but the donating of the oil for that sake. In this way, it echoes last week’s parasha that opens with a command to donate various items to the making of the Tabernacle.
The experience of parenting of a child who is affected by the more severe end of the autism spectrum reminds me daily that there are numerous things that I can’t control. My first impulse when my son was diagnosed was to try and “fix” as many of the symptoms of his disability as I could.
The Justice Department will pay for GPS tracking devices for children with autism or other conditions as it does for senior citizens with Alzheimers who are at risk of being separated from their caregivers, according to the Associated Press.
“Right is might” civilizations mistreat vulnerable people—slaves, strangers, widows, orphans and the poor. This week’s Torah portion obligates us to see to the material well-being of these disadvantaged groups. Equally important is the support we provide through empathy.
After the Israelites crossed the Red Sea and emerged victorious in the war against Amalek, Moses’ father-in-law Jethro joined them in the wilderness. Our Torah portion recounts how he was welcomed by the congregation:
“Aaron and all the elders of Israel came to eat bread with Moses’ father-in-law before God.” (Exodus 18, 12.) The commentator Rashi wonders “Where was Moses?” He concludes that Moses was occupied himself with serving the meal (rather than eating with Aaron, Jethro and the elders.) One can imagine that Moses also saw to the preparation of the meal.