One Minute Torah: Terumah 5779

The creativity of young children flows freely. But as they grow, students seem to need more and more scaffolding from adults before they can produce.

This week’s One Minute Torah is from the archives.

Morah Natalya’s second graders designed their own synagogues. Morah Ela’s first graders created animals out of leaves and sticks. Morah Esti’s 3rd graders each have a different interpretation of the 7 species of Israel. You’ll find their work on the bulletin boards in the school wing. Their creations are imaginative and unique.

The creativity of young children flows freely. But as they grow, students seem to need more and more scaffolding from adults before they can produce. Sir Ken Robinson argues that schools are educating children out of their creativity. Watch his TED talk. It will make you laugh and make you think. As students try to fit the expectations of adults, they lose their ability to create.

For adults, deep creativity often comes through a painful birthing. The psychologist Robert Asagioli wrote “…the artist is driven by the urge to create, his personality is impelled by this urge which is sometimes easy and joyous, but more often is difficult and even painful. Often the personality rebels or tries to evade the higher urge. Yet the artist is obliged to create; he’s given no peace until he has obeyed the urge to create that which has been prepared in the superconscious realm.” (The Act of Will, 1976, p. 118)

This week’s parshah, Terumah, along with 3 of the remaining 4 portions of the book of Exodus, is about creativity. The people are told to create a Tabernacle. What follows is a list of detailed instructions–so many cubits by so many cubits–that would make Sir Robinson scream! But, these are not the instructions of a mortal teacher to a student. The repeated refrain is “I (God) will show you.”

Isn’t that what inspiration is–an encounter with something transcendent, that must be squeezed and shaped and passed into earthly form? Children have an easy conduit. Their God is simple and their world is simple. As they grow and complexify, it is our job, as parents and teachers, to help them remain open at both ends: open to the ineffable, and open to expression.