I remember as a young child being told that I couldn’t fulfill my mitzvah (commandment) of a Purim seudah (festive meal) without eating meat. However, as a vegetarian, I found myself very conflicted between my religious and personal ideals. Vegetarianism has been shown to require less energy, land, and water than meat. Therefore, my intention is to reduce my environmental impact. However, I don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to do a mitzvah due to my vegetarianism.
This week’s Torah portion focuses on the the miskan, or “dwelling” that was built in the desert, a holy place of prayer where G-d could dwell among the Jewish people. The instructions for building the Mishkan were very detailed, with an outline of 15 materials that should be used: And this is the offering that you shall take from them: gold, silver, and copper; and turquoise, purple, and scarlet wool; linen and goat hair; red-dyed ram skins, tachash skins, acacia wood; oil fo