Vayakhel: Can You Be Too Jewish?



Can you be too Jewish? 

Can you have too much of a good thing? Can you be too holy, or too religious, or too good? 

Can an institution – say a synagogue, or a school, or a hospital, or a community center – ever have too much money? Harvard, Yale, Stamford have billion-dollar endowment funds, but does that stop them from more fundraising? A rudimentary reading of our Torah portion seems to imply that there comes a point when enough is just enough. Which seems odd – shouldn’t the Torah teach us to always strive for more and reach beyond the horizons? 

A beautiful teaching from the Ohr HaChaim about the sufficient excess of the Sanctuary in the desert, teaches us the miracle of having an abundance of energy, yet making that abundance exactly enough to empower our lives. 

Contrast that with the excess at the Sochi Olympics. 

It also guides us in how to educate our children. Do you want your children to have excess or exactly enough? The Torah says both! Your children should have an abundance, and they should focus it into exactly enough. 

Isn’t this way too Jewish of an answer?


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