In this week’s portion, the Torah reports of the generous sacrifices offered by the 12 princes of Israel for the newly inaugurated Tabernacle.

We all have an in-between zone: the constant waiting period between two items on our schedule too short to make anything productive of it. We humans often spend lots of our life in such zones, waiting.

In this week’s portion, the Torah reports of the generous sacrifices offered by the 12 princes of Israel for the newly inaugurated Tabernacle.

Rabbi Levi Dubov directs the Chabad Jewish Center of Bloomfield Hills
Rabbi Levi Dubov directs the Chabad Jewish Center of Bloomfield Hills.

In addition to their individual gifts, the princes constructed six large wagons for transporting the large beams and coverings of the Tabernacle.

Interestingly, the Talmud teaches that the princes measured the precise dimensions of the beams and coverings, accounting for how much storage, without an extra inch to spare. The Talmud reports that it was tight and precarious fit, and there was concern that due to the tremendous weight and pressure of the beams stacked on one another, some of them could become unstable.

This seems to be extreme penny-pinching stinginess. Why be so cheap on material and compromise on convenience? Why not gift 12 wagons, one from each prince, and lighten the load of each wagon?

This question is even more glaring when you contrast this with the evident generosity in their individual offerings. What happened to the spirit of generosity and dedication by the wagon donation?

But here is where the Torah is begging us to probe deeper. The princes of Israel are sharing with us that when it comes to our dedication to God, we should never leave any “gaps;” no space should be left unfilled.

We all lead busy lives. I often hear from people who wish they could do more mitzvot and join Torah classes, but they just don’t have the time.

In 1967, Detroit hosted the annual Chabad women’s convention. Following the convention, the return flight scheduled to take the New York-based group back home was canceled due to a snowstorm. The organizer of the group called the office of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menchem M. Schneerson, and reported the group was stuck in the airport. After putting her on hold, the secretary came back on the line: “The Rebbe doesn’t understand the word ‘stuck.’” The organizer tried explaining what being ‘stuck’ means; the secretary replied, “The Rebbe understands English. The Rebbe says that a Jew is never stuck.”

Every moment has a mission, and every situation has its purpose. We are never “stuck.” The next time you find yourself waiting in one of those “in-between” zones, ask yourself how you can make this moment purposeful.

When I was a child, I heard of the Jewish bus driver in Brooklyn who completed the entire Talmud, a tremendous achievement even for the seasoned Torah scholar. How did he do it? In those small breaks while waiting: the “in-between” zones.

Let us all take inspiration from the princes of Israel and never let a single inch of our life go to waste. There is a whole world of holy potential waiting for us in the ‘in-between’ zone. Let’s go and discover it.

Rabbi Levi Dubov directs the Chabad Jewish Center of Bloomfield Hills.

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