“Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.” – Socrates
In collaboration with Hillel Smith.
Reading the building instructions for the Tabernacle feels very different than reading the stories we have been reading until this point. We don’t have a Tabernacle or anything similar to a Tabernacle today. We don’t have an appreciation for the aesthetic beauty of the Tabernacle. We certainly are not entertained by the wordy descriptions of the Tabernacle.
To us, the entire enterprise sounds alien. To connect to this part of the Biblical narrative I suggest an empathetic approach.
The people hearing these instructions were undoubtably excited about the project. They eagerly made donations and devoted their skills to build their Tabernacle because it was so incredibly powerful to them. Every item in this portable temple was intricately beautiful. To a slave nation without a land or an economy, just the grandeur of the Tabernacle structure was magical enough to inspire its people.
Try to capture some of that same wonder when you read these verses. It all seems impossible to build and when it was somehow built it was certainly magnificent. That is what I see in Hillel Smith’s artistic rendering of the Impossible Menorah. It fills me with wonder and opens my heart to experience the Tabernacle readings with wonder.