Vayak’heil: Camp-Inspired Discussion Questions for Your Shabbat

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Shabbat Shalom! We are thrilled that so many Eisnerites are celebrating Shabbat Across America this weekend by inviting members of our community into their homes for Shabbat dinner! No matter where or how you are enjoying Shabbat this week, we want to offer you the chance to learn some Torah and reflect on its relevance for camp.

This week’s parasha is Vayak’heil, meaning “and he assembled.” You can read the text of the portion in English, or watch a musical video version for more context.  The portion focuses on the Israelites coming together to build the Tabernacle, a portable sanctuary in the desert for God to dwell in as they traveled. The Torah tells us that all the Israelites brought different materials to contribute to help to build the items for this portable sanctuary. The leader or architect of this project is a man named Bezalel.

Here are some camp-inspired questions based on this parasha you can discuss with your family and friends this Shabbat:

  1. The people who come to build the Tabernacle are described as “all whose hearts were moved and whose spirits were spirits were generous” (Exodus 35:21). What at camp moves your heart and makes your spirit generous?
  1. Moses tells the Israelites why Bezalel is qualified to lead the building of the Tabernacle, saying: “[God] has endowed him with a divine spirit, wisdom, understanding, and craftsmanship.” (Exodus 35:31) Leaders of camp, from camper role models to Maccabiah generals to directors and board members, must exhibit some of these same qualities. How do YOU bring each of these four qualities to your camp experience?
  1. To build the Tabernacle, all the Israelites brought many different gifts. What gifts do you bring to camp beyond the physical packing list?
  1. The Tabernacle was a portable dwelling-place for the divine presence as the Israelites wandered in the desert. Our Beit T’filah is a sacred place at camp. What makes it special? What other places at camp do you see a divine or spiritual presence?
  1. In this parasha, Moses also reminds the Israelites to observe Shabbat by not working on the 7th day of the week. How do you make your 7th day restful, at camp or at home?

Feel free to write your answers to these questions in the comments below!