Candle lighting time for Friday, March 9 5:37 PM
First Torah reading Exodus 35:1-40:38
Second Torah reading Numbers 19:1-22
Moses in this week’s Torah portion, Vayakel-Pekudai, gives a very detailed accounting of all the materials he collected for the construction of the Mishkan, the portable Tabernacle. He enumerates how much gold, silver, and copper was collected and how much was used and for what purposes. If truth be told, this parasha has to be the most boring one of all because of all the repetition. The Etz Hayyim commentary page 564 below the line asks and answers the question why Moses felt obligated to give this detailed account. The answer comes from the midrash.
“Some Israelites knew that they would have taken advantage of handling all that gold and silver for their own enrichment. They suspected Moses of being no better than they were. Thus the midrash emphasizes that leaders of the community must be above any suspicion of personal aggrandizement. The family that prepared the incense for the Temple services would never let their relatives wear perfume, less some people suspect them of using Temple incense for the personal benefit. The official who supervised the shekel offering would wear a special garment with no pockets and no long sleeves when they did so, so no one could suspect them of pocketing public funds. (Song of Songs Rabbah 3:7)”
If only our president would be as scrupulous in his ethical behavior! Unfortunately ever since he attained the highest office in the United States, he has monetized the presidency for his and his family’s benefit. On his golf outings at his own golf courses he has already spent $72,392,178 almost double what Pres. Obama spent on golf during his eight years of office.
“Keeping tabs on the potential for self-dealing is “a monumental task”, says Kathleen Clark, an ethics expert at Washington University. In some areas, particularly abroad, increased scrutiny appears to be making deals harder to pull off. But in others, such as his American hotels and golf clubs, Mr. Trump is monetizing the presidency. Mr. Trump’s appearances at his own for-profit properties, which he has visited more than 65 times as president—including the US Women’s Open at one of his golf clubs, in New Jersey.
“(His) visits (to his private properties) serve as a form of marketing, and his firm has not been shy about cashing in. Mar-a-Lago, a Trump resort in Florida where the president hosts other world leaders, doubled its initial fee for new members to $200,000 after the election.
“Saudis are big buyers of Trump apartments, and the kingdom is investing $20bn in an American infrastructure fund. A Trump-branded golf course in the UAE made Mr Trump as much as $10m in 2015-16. By contrast, Mr Trump’s past efforts to break into Qatar have failed.
“Tracking such business relationships is not easy because of the opacity of Mr. Trump’s holdings. He makes liberal use of LLCs—anonymous shell companies that do not have to publish financial information—often in complex combinations with regular corporations. He has refused to publish his tax returns.” (from Sytonnia Live, https://sytonnia.wordpress.com/2017/10/08/donald-trump-continues-to-exploit-presidency-for-private-gain-as-golf-count-shows-over-72-million-spent-by-taxpayers-already-on-trips-to-his-properties/)
Oh how we could use a Moses today!
Shabbat 9:30 a.m.
Save the Date!
Tuesday, March 13 at 7:15PM Join Sisterhood for a Women’s Seder
Join us for Fung Shueder – The Chinese Art of Fung Shui meets Passover Seder. RSVP by March 6. $5 contribution
Sunday, April 15, 10:30 AM The community Yom Hashoa service, at Temple Torah
Celebrate Israel’s 70th Birthday as we march in the celebrate Israel Parade Sunday, June 3rd