Gifts Gunned Down: Parashat T’rumah and This Week’s Trauma
“God spoke to Moses, saying: Tell the Israelite people to bring Me gifts; you shall accept gifts for Me from every person, whose heart so moves them.”
How painfully ironic it is that the perpetrator in this week’s school shooting in Florida chose Valentine’s Day to carry out his fatal plot. A day of love, romance, flowers, chocolate, amorous notes, and intimate poems turned into one of hate, fear, bloodshed, tragedy, and death. Cupid’s arrows were destroyed by the high-powered bullets of an automatic rifle. Our greatest gifts were gruesomely gunned down.
It is the word gift, t’rumah, from the opening verse of our weekly Torah reading that this Torah portion, Parashat T'rumah, takes its name. The slaughter of more young people, the squandering of yet more gifts, constitutes a level of grief that we cannot accept. The spilling of innocent blood can never become acceptable. It can not be tolerated, rationalized, trivialized, marginalized, or stoically endured. No one should have to endure it.
So, may every person, whose heart so moves us, consider the cost of our current state of affairs.
May we be moved to ask if this is how God intended us to use the gift of life.
May we be moved to go beyond thoughts and prayers.
May we be moved to act on behalf of our children, our students, our neighbors, and our communities to demand a more responsible use of our most precious resource.
Children are among God’s greatest gifts to us.
Our ability to cherish, protect, nurture, love, and value them, is among the greatest gifts we have to offer in return.
To receive a gift is to accept the promise that comes with it.
To give a gift is to express the expectation that it will be received with gratitude and utilized responsibly.
For the sake of our children, past, present, and future let us become better guardians of our gifts. May this be our blessing, and let us say: