Got talent?

Do you have a talent? Can you juggle? Play a musical instrument? Were you perhaps one of those double-jointed kids who could bend your elbow and twist your tongue?

Maybe your talent is in setting up cracker business deals or sharing empathy with people who have been traumatised. Each of us has talent, be it flashy or subtle, entertaining or uplifting.

Society only celebrates talent once it hits the silver screen or the Top Ten. Idols “Runner Up” or Wimbledon “Quarter Final Champion” won’t earn you a beeline to stardom. In a society where only the flashiest, fastest and funniest hit the Big Time, most people barely recognise the talents that they have.

Your athletic ability could win you a gold medal, your voice a Grammy or your brain a Nobel prize. But there is no major finger-prize for knitting. Besides, if there were one, what would we call it if? The Golden needles? The Yarnies?

Ah, but the Jews, we even celebrate knitting. The Torah celebrates the skills of its crochet team. It’s for good reason. What these women did has probably never been replicated. While the rest of the Children of Israel fashioned spectacular golden utensils and hammered together towering cedar boards for G-d’s Sanctuary, a group of needle-able women got to weaving the goat-hair hangings that would cover the Mishkan.

Nu, so they knitted goat’s hair.

Big deal.

The catch is that they wove these tapestries while the hair was still on the goats! Weaving a tapestry on a moving target takes exceptional skill.

You must wonder why these women chose the most inconvenient way imaginable to produce a tapestry. Their artwork would surely have looked just as good if it had been produced the conventional way. But, these ladies recognised that they had a unique talent, and they figured that if you have a talent, you should use it. Where better to use it, but in the service of G-d? After all, He’s the one who had gifted them with this skill in the first place.

Like those proficient women of the Bible, each of us a unique talent. G-d gave it to us so that we would use it. And, once we’re using it, it would only be right to use it also to serve His purpose, His temple and His people.

Based on the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe

About the Author
Rabbi Shishler together with his wife, Naomi and their eight children, runs Chabad of Strathavon in Sandton, South Africa. Rabbi Shishler is a popular teacher who regularly lectures around the globe. he hosts a weekly radio show in South Africa and is the rabbi of Facebook's largest Ask the Rabbi group.
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