D’var Torah on T’rumah, by Jonathan Spiller

delivered to 160 people at Friday Night Shabbat Dinner at Brandeis Yachad Shabbaton on Friday February 7, 2014


Hi.  My name is Jonathan Spiller.

I want to welcome everyone to the 2014 Brandeis Shabbaton.

This is my second Shabbaton and I am really happy to be here with all of my friends from this year and last year.


I would like to Thank Liz Offen, Director New England Yachad for convincing me to come to the Brandeis Shabbaton. Last year I was nervous about going but this year I am more excited than nervous because I know I will be meeting people who also believe that Yachad is a wonderful, supportive environment.


In the beginning of this week’s Torah portion, God commands the Jews to bring olive oil to the Tabernacle to light a “Ner Tamid,” a constant lamp. This commandment comes in-between all of the laws about how to build the Tabernacle— which materials and dyes to use— and how to actually use the Tabernacle to worship God. The question is, why is the commandment of the Ner Tamid the bridge between the building and the function? What is so special about a constant light source?

I think that light is the most important part of belief. We sometimes lose our way in our character or our faith. We sometimes are not as successful as we would like to be. But Judaism is all about a constant light— a Ner Tamid. Judaism is about hope. We all experience hardship but what defines a Jew is an everlasting light. The way to be the best people we can be is to always have a Ner Tamid burning in every one of us, guiding us when we fall.


I joined Yachad Boston and New England Yachad November 2012.  Yachad has given me more confidence to introduce myself to new people and tell them about my hobbies like Photography and Watercolor painting. Yachad is a big part of my personal Ner Tamid. It makes me happy to be who I am and has given me so many great friends who support me all the time. 


I wish you all a life of light, of hope, and of good friends.

Shabbat Shalom!


Jonathan Spiller is a young man living with disabilities in Watertown, MA.  Jonathan received assistance with his D’var Torah from a friend at the Maimonides School Yachad Club. Jonathan enjoys photography, painting, being with friends and trying new things.  Every Friday of each month 11am-2pm, Jonathan his framed photography and photo cards at Our Shop Gift Shop (Lobby), 85 East Newton Street, Boston –a portion of his proceeds is donated to New England Yachad.  Jonathan’s website is: http://tinyurl.com/jonathanspillerphotography

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