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Weekly D'var Torah

D’var Torah - Tetzaveh

By Brynn Miller


Shabbat Shalom!

My Torah portion is called Tetzaveh which means “you shall command” and comes from the book of Exodus. This portion begins with the commandment for the Israelites to bring olive oil for the lighting of lamps for the mishkan or traveling sanctuary. Torah calls this lamp a ner tamid, an eternal light; for the ner tamid is to burn from evening to morning for all time. This commandment is the reason why synagogues all over the world place a ner tamid or eternal flame over their arks. The rest of the portion of Tetzaveh describes the special clothing the priests were supposed to wear while overseeing the sacrifices. The clothing of the high priest was the most special clothing of all.

For my D’var Torah I would like to focus on the symbolism of the ner tamid. I think the ner tamid symbolizes the light we need most in the world; it is the light to guide us when we are lost. It is the light that reminds us we are not alone because we are part of a community. It reminds us that there will always be someone to help us no matter what. Likewise, it reminds us to help those in need. The ner tamid reminds us that even though we might be okay, not everyone is okay, and we need to be the light for someone else. The fact that the light never goes out shows us that even in dark times there is always a light to be found.

I like to think of my friends and family as my ner tamid, my eternal light. If I am having a bad day, I know there is always going to be someone there to help and comfort me. I am lucky to have such wonderful friends and family. They reassure me that everything is okay and talk me through the hard times. For others the ner tamid might be a teacher, guidance counselor or trusted elder. And, for some people that might mean talking to God or talking to a higher power that gives them reassurance.

I try to be the ner tamid for everybody in my life because not everyone has a person they can count on. I try to be a good listener and give good advice. I try to talk them through the hard times and help them see the positive and not lose hope. I also try to help them see that everything happens for a reason or there is meaning to be found in everything.

For my Mitzvah Project I did a collection to support Mitzvah Circle which is an organization that tries to be the ner tamid for those going through hard times. Mitzvah Circle provides basic material goods to individuals and families facing poverty, homelessness, serious illness, and difficult circumstances. Their unique approach delivers personalized support for the entire family. I collected toys, clothes and hygiene products to donate to Mitzvah circle. I created the flyer and told my family, friends, and community members about this amazing organization and asked them to donate specific items. I was surprised how generous everyone was and that we were able to collect two carloads full of donations. When we dropped the donations off everyone at Mitzvah Circle was so grateful and we know these items are really going to make a difference. It made me feel really good to give back to the community and help a family in need.

This process of becoming a Bat Mitzvah has been both exciting and challenging. I learned that if I try really hard I can accomplish anything I put my mind to. I am proud of how much progress I made throughout this journey.   I really enjoyed learning more about Jewish tradition and especially liked studying the Torah. I think it is pretty cool how old these words are, and yet I can still find meaning in them today. Now that I am a Bat Mitzvah, I am looking forward to teaching others about my tradition and helping my community especially those younger than me learn what it is all about. 

Shabbat Shalom!

Tue, February 27 2024 18 Adar I 5784