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  • Writer's pictureEve Was Right

19. We Co-create Our Religions

Updated: Apr 8

And how our leaders take advantage of religion.


Parshah Terumah


*Important attribution note: All quotes listed in this article are credited to the Artscroll Stone Edition Chumash. Here is an Extremely Clear Citation so I don’t get in trouble: Nosson Scherman, Hersh Goldwurm, Avie Gold, & Meir Zlotowitz. (2015). The Chumash: the Torah, Haftaros and Five Megillos. Mesorah Publications, Ltd.


Exodus 25:1-4*

“Hashem spoke to Moses, saying: ‘Speak to the Children of Israel and let them take for Me a portion, from every man whose heart motivates him you shall take My portion. This is the portion that you shall take from them: gold, silver, and copper; and turquoise, purple, and scarlet wool; linen and goat hair…’”

Requesting donations to build God’s Sanctuary made the religion participatory. The process helped them invest because they had a hand in its creation. They had ownership in the religion so everyone could be included.


GIF from the show The Porter with a man saying, "Well, let me make myself useful then."

Perhaps this is also why God arranged for the Israelites to receive gold and silver from the Egyptians prior to their departure from Egypt. As enslaved people, they wouldn’t have had access to any of the materials for the Sanctuary, but now they could contribute. 


Unfortunately in our day, we see the negative consequences of this sentiment more than its positive effects. From Rolex-wearing rabbis to megachurch pastors to the insane wealth of the Catholic Church, we are surrounded by examples of people and institutions who have corrupted this passage. 


It’s still necessary to give people a way to co-create their religion. We find out later that Israel’s leadership told people to stop donating items once they had everything they required for construction, so the Torah also provided an example of how leadership can help curb the practice’s darker tendencies. 


Humans excel at finding ways to use ideas and sentiments for our own ends. It’s our leaders’ job not to take advantage of our generosity and desire to participate.


*Again with the Extremely Clear Citation so I don’t get in trouble: Nosson Scherman, Hersh Goldwurm, Avie Gold, & Meir Zlotowitz. (2015). The Chumash : the Torah, Haftaros and Five Megillos. Mesorah Publications, Ltd.

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