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Thursday, March 6, 2008

Parashat Pekudei

Parasha: Pekudei – Exodus 38:21 – 40:38

Haftara: 1Kings 7:40 –50 (Sephardim) 1Kings 7:51-8:21 (Ashkenazim)

Reading date: 8th March 2008 – 1st Adar Bet 5768

This parasha begins with the detailed list of the amounts of gold, silver and copper that was contributed for the construction of the Tabernacle. Despite the fact that the metals were deposited with Moses and were under the supervision of Bezalel – people whose greatness and integrity were indisputable, known to the people, and attested to by YHVH – Moses would not rely on assumptions. Leaders must be beyond reproach and must keep accounts of the funds that passed through their hands.

39:3 ‘Thin threads’ – The word the Torah uses to describe the threads is “p’tilim” which today is the word used for an explosive fuse or a candle wick.

39:43 The blessing that Moses used to bless the people is recorded in the words of Psalm 90 which he wrote: v.17 “May the pleasantness of my Lord YHVH, be upon us – may He establish our handiwork for us; our handiwork may He establish”.

40:2 The Tabernacle was erected on Rosh Chodesh Nissan. From then on it would only be taken down when the nation traveled. Before that day Moses performed the procedure of sanctification during which he erected and dismantled the Tabernacle every day for seven days prior to the first of Nissan. During that week Moses served as the Cohen haGadol performing the entire inauguration service.

40:17-38 Until the curtains enclosing the courtyard were in place, no sacrifices could be offered. This passage describes how Moses erected the Tabernacle and put all of its parts in place. When the ‘Shchenah’ rested on the handiwork of man, in full sight of all the men, women and children they could see their Tabernacle enveloped in holiness, the Tabernacle that was built with their gifts, made by their hands and erect by their prophet. This as made possible by their repentance, assuring them that YHVH’s presence would remain in their midst – if they would but make it welcome.

So too today repentance is still the vital component required for the glory to rest upon us and not just the sacrifice. Sacrifice without repentance is worth nothing.

40:35 The glory of YHVH was so intense that Moses could not enter (Num 7:89). The second half of the verse resolves this problem, Moses could only enter when the cloud lifted.

“Chazak! Chazak! Venitchazek!

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