Weekly Reading Insights

Vayakhel/Pekudeh 5762

Overview of the Weekly Reading: Vayakhel/Pekudeh, Hachodesh
Shabbat Mevarchim (Blessing of the new month)
To be read on the Shabbat of 25 Adar, 5762 (March 9)

Torah: Ex. 35:1-40:38, Maftir: Hachodesh Ex.12:1-20
Haftorah: Ezekiel 45:16-12, 46:1-18 (for Shabbat HaChodesh. as its beginning mentions both Rosh Chodesh Nissan and the Pesach sacrifice);

Stats: Vayakhel contains 0 positive mitzvot and 1 prohibitive mitzvot. Among the Weekly Readings, Vayakhel ranks 17 out of 54 in number of verses, 24 in number of words, and 21 in number of letters
Pekudeh contains 0 positive mitzvot and 0 prohibitive mitzvot. Among the Weekly Readings, Pekudeh ranks 40 out of 54 in number of verses, 42 in number of words, and 44 in number of letters

First is the command to keep Shabbat. Next is described the materials donated to constructing the Tabernacle. The chief architects, Betzalel and Oholiav, oversaw the contributions and the work. The verses go on to describe the building of the tapestries, coverings, beams, ark, table, menorah, incense altar, sacrificial altar, washstand, and outer enclosure of the Tabernacle. In Pekudei is an accounting of all materials used in making the Tabernacle. Then described are the methods used in making the priests' clothing. All the labor was carried out as G-d commanded, and Moshe blessed the workers. G-d commanded Moshe how and when to assemble the Tabernacle and dress the priests. When this was completed, G-d's cloud of glory came and rested on the Tabernacle for all to see. When the cloud would rise, it was a signal for the Jews to travel. Chazak chazak v'nit'chazek!



"Moses gathered together all the congregation of the Children of Israel and said to them: 'These are the things which G-d has commanded that you should do'." (35:1)

Every Jew approaches a mitzva with his own personal thoughts and intentions, according to his intellect and level of understanding. Yet the physical performance of the mitzva is carried out in the same manner by all. Moses was able to assemble all the Jews together in true unity because the performance of mitzvot is common to all Jews, no matter what their other differences may be.

(Rebbe of Tshortkov)


"These are the accounts of the Tabernacle (mishkan); the Tabernacle of the testimony." (38:21)

One reason the word "Tabernacle" is repeated is to allude to the two Holy Temples -- the spiritual one that exists in the celestial spheres above and the physical one that was built by the Jews below to reflect spiritual reality.

(Likutei Sichot)


"Guard the matzot." (12:17)

It can also be read [since the Torah scroll has no vowels], "Guard the mitzvot." Just as we must not let the matzah dough ferment, so we should not let a mitzvah opportunity ferment, but do it immediately. Also, don't do it with a 'fermented' sour face, but with enthusiasm and joy.

(Sichat HaShavuah)



Selected with permission from the five-volume English edition of Ohr HaChaim: the Torah Commentary of Rabbi Chaim Ben Attar, as translated and annotated by Eliyahu Munk.
The holy Rabbi Chayim ben Moses Attar was born in Sale, Western Morocco, on the Atlantic in 1696. His immortal commentary on the Five Books Of Moses, Or Hachayim, was printed in Venice in 1741, while the author was on his way to the Holy Land. He acquired a reputation as a miracle worker, hence his title "the holy," although some apply this title only to his Torah commentary.

"Moses assembled the entire congregation of the sons of Israel…."(35:1)

We are told in the Zohar volume 3 page 196 that Moses assembled the men separately in order to separate them for the women seeing that Satan was present and Moses wanted to forestall giving Satan a pretext to harm the Israelites during such an assembly.
Since women were not normally present when Moses explained Torah legislation to the people except when they brought the donations for the building of the Holy Tabernacle, Moses did not normally have to take measures to counteract the presence of Satan, the seducer.
We have proof of what the Zohar wrote in verse 22 where the arrival of the men and women is reported separately, i.e. "the men came in addition to the women." This is only emphasized because it was not the norm for women to participate in these assemblies. The best proof that in our instance Moses assembled the men and women separately is in the word bni, the males. If the men and women had been assembled jointly, the Torah should only have written: "the whole congregation of Israel" and not "the whole congregation of the sons of Israel".

An essay from Rabbi Shaul Yosef Leiter

G-d commands the Jews "Six days shall your work be done, and the seventh day will be holy for you, a Sabbath of Sabbaths for G-d..." (35/2).
In order for it to be as G-d wishes, Shabbat must be preceded by six days of work. The Lubavitcher Rebbe explains that when examining the verse, we are not commanded to delve into the physical world, running after our livelihood, working extremely hard.

The Jews need not "do the work" to make a living, rather "it will be done". The necessary tasks will be completed, effortlessly, and even by others, if the Jews will do G-d's will. This does not mean that one should take a totally laisez faire or fatalistic approach to doing one's job. You still have to show up at the office, but you don't make your occupation into your raison d'etre. Our jobs are simply the vessel for receiving our livelihood, therefore we must, in fact, make the basic effort. But our job is not the true source. G-d is.

We should only put our external energies into our job, and save our real energies and focus for doing mitzvahs. In Tehillim it is written "You shall toil with your hands in order to eat; you will be happy and have goodness" (128/2). How will a person receive good? By using his or her hands to do work, but reserving the heart and mind for G-d. It is written, "G-d's blessing brings wealth".
Staying the extra hours at the computer is not what causes great profit. G-d is the ultimate Source of all blessings. The half hour away from the office to catch a mincha minyan is sure to bring in more revenue than that same half hour spent with clients. (A chossid once went to his Rebbe and complained at great length about his shoe mending business travails. After listening to this extensive tale, the Rebbe replied 'I have seen many people who put their feet into their shoes, but you have managed to put your head into your shoes.")
Having the proper attitude during the week's workdays will direct Shabbat in the correct avenue. Shabbat should be totally removed from work matters, taking advantage of the extra free time to learn Torah.

If someone is absorbed in making another 'grand' during the week, it is not hard to imagine the he or will catch him or herself thinking about new deals or purchases throughout Shabbat, instead of proper holy focuses.

A Jew who does believe that G-d gives his or her salary, will actually have a sense of Shabbat throughout the whole week and an extra holy 'Sabbath of Sabbaths.'

Shabbat Shalom!

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