This week we read from Parshat Terumah, where God instructs Moses to tell the people how to build the tabernacle/mishkan. “tell the Israelites to take for me an offering; from all whose hearts prompt them to give, you shall receive the offering for me/דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְיִקְחוּ לִי תְּרוּמָה. מֵאֵת כָּל-אִישׁ אֲשֶׁר יִדְּבֶנּוּ לִבּוֹ תִּקְחוּ אֶת-תְּרוּמָתִי.” What exactly are we giving? And what are we getting?
The Talmud asks a question: Manasseh said to him: I will ask you, from where are you required to begin cutting a loaf of bread when reciting the blessing: Who brings forth bread from the earth?...Manasseh said to him: One cuts the loaf from where it crusts as a result of baking. The Izhbitzer Rebbeexplains the question in the Talmud. The question is really asking, “where is the deep recognition in this loaf of bread that the blessed God is giving it so you can truly say on it, ‘Blessed art Thou?’ And the answer is, ‘from the part that was baked first.’ There are so many stages in the work of our human hands that goes into making the bread: the kneading, arranging, heating the oven, putting it equally in the oven. But the very place where it starts baking is not a result of the power of [hu]mankind. Then, when one takes this into his heart, asking why it starting baking at this particular place, he sees that it has only come about from the will of the blessed God.”
The crust is a constant reminder that despite all of our hard work, there is much that is out of our control. Coach Carter was trying to teach his players about humility. And that is only one part of the equation. Of course, it is important to acknowledge the seemingly random things in our lives that are out of our control. But the Izhbitzer is pushing us one step further. Not only do we need to be momentarily conscious of that which is beyond us, but we should also try to live with that awesome awareness at our core. When we live in a place where we always know that all of our hard work will never be enough on its own, then we will bring God into the fabric of our lives, and holiness will walk with us wherever we go. May we go forward knowing that it is not simply our work that we are handing to God, but through accepting God’s role in our handiwork, we will in fact be bringing God down to dwell with us.
 Ex, 25:2
 BT Sanhedrin 102b
 Mordechai Yosef Leiner of Izbica (Yiddish: איזשביצע, איזביצע Izhbitze, Izbitse, Ishbitze) (1801-1854) was a rabbinic Hasidic thinker and founder of the Izhbitza-Radzyn dynasty of Hasidic Judaism. Rabbi Mordechai Yosef was born in Tomashov (Polish: Tomaszów Lubelski) in 1801 to his father Reb Yaakov the son of Reb Mordechai of Sekul, a descendant of Rabbi Saul Wahl. At the age two he became orphaned of his father. He became a disciple of Reb Simcha Bunim of Peshischa where he joined Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk and Rabbi Yosef of Yartshev; both were also born in Tomashov. When Rabbi Menachem Mendel became Rebbe in Kotzk, Reb Mordechai Yosef became his disciple there; then in 1839 became himself a rebbe in Tomaszów, moving subsequently to Izbica.
 Living Waters, pg. 156, translated by Betsalel Philip Edwards.