Our Community Celebrates

Leah Chana Bolotina-Fink

Bat Mitzvah date: June 3, 2022

Parents: Marc and Inna Bolotina-Fink


Shabbat Shalom!! I very much appreciate all of you coming today.

With the world today engulfed in war and acrimony, as it seems to always be, this week’s Torah portion, Pekudai, offers us a timely lesson in holding our leaders to the highest standards.

The Details

At first glance, we have a very boring accounting of all the gold, silver and copper donated by the Jewish people to build the Torah’s first home, the Tabernacle. Why should we care? More on this in just a moment.

The Torah goes on to describe the construction of the Tabernacle; the garments worn by the priests; and Moses’s inspection of the completed Tabernacle and his blessing of the workers. G-d then instructs Moses to erect the Tabernacle, and the Divine Presence then enters it.

So why did Moses, the greatest prophet of all time, feel the need to offer a detailed accounting of his people’s donations? Because the Torah tells us the people “gazed after Moses.” What does that mean?

The Midrash offers us incredible details: The man who took us out of Egypt, split the sea, brought us the Ten Commandments and so much more, was basically accused by his own people of fraud and embezzlement!!

How could this be? Of course, Moses was completely innocent of any wrongdoing.

But the Torah itself states “And you shall be clean and innocent before G‑d and before Israel.” And the Talmud concludes: “Not only must one’s behavior be innocent and beyond reproach in the eyes of G‑d, but he must also ensure that he is beyond suspicion in the eyes of man.”

So, Moses ordered a meticulous accounting. 33 centuries before Ronald Reagan famously said, “Trust but verify,” Moses had come to the same conclusion!!

No leader, no matter how revered and famous, is beyond reproach. We must hold all of our leaders accountable, all the time, no matter what.

My Mitzvah Project

Now a quick word about my Mitzvah project. A few months ago, I began a fundraiser for Mishpacha Orphanage in Odessa, Ukraine, which is run by the Jewish organization Chabad. At the time, I had no idea that Ukraine would soon become embroiled in a war!

I was initially inspired by the story of my late Great Grandma Klava, who was born and raised in Ukraine. She lost her entire family in the Holocaust and was saved by the grace of an Uzbek couple running an orphanage.

Since there are so many worthy causes that already have a large number of donors, I thought it would be a good idea to raise money for this lesser-known, local charity half-way across the world, to help children who have lost their parents, like my Great Grandma Klava.

Of course, with the war breaking out, the many local people who previously helped this orphanage are no longer able to support it. It’s not just the housing and food that the organization provides, but also secular and Jewish education, as well as emotional support.

Without this organization, the kids would be living on the streets.

Therefore, I will be donating 10 percent of my gifts to this worthy cause. And I want to thank all of those here who have already contributed.


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