I read this recently: The word spiritual contains the word ritual. How had I not seen this before?
As we read through the final words of the journey of Exodus/Shemot, I am struck by this juxtaposition of word within word. The last two books – Vaykhel/Pekude provide extraordinary detail about the construction of the Mishkan, the sanctuary where God will reside with the people Israel. This collection of souls are barely a people at this point, even having stood at Sinai in their joined numbers; they are still learning how to do this “people” thing. The half-shekel requirement is part of building that bond. Giving on a footing of equality helps to build a bond of community. The many rituals of Judaism are not outside spirituality – they are within its very essence – our very essence. As we prepare to leave Shemot and enter the pages of Vayikra/Leviticus – many, many rituals – we begin to glimpse this essence.