Weekly Reading Insights: Vayakhel-Pekudei 5766


Overview of the Weekly Reading: Vayakhel-Pekudei

To be read on 25 Adar 5766 (March 24-25)

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

Shabbat Mevarchim
(Blessing of the new month)

Vayakhel is the 10th Reading out of 11 in Exodus and 22nd overall, and 22nd out of 54 in overall length.
Pekudei is the 11th Reading out of 11 in Exodus and 23rd overall, and 41st out of 54 in overall length

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. Thus concludes the Book of Shmot (Exodus) - Hazak hazak v'nit'hazek!

FROM THE MASTERS OF KABBALA (K:22-2366/Vayakhel-Pekudei)

From the holy Zohar, teachings of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Z22-2366/Vayakhel-Pekudei)

After Adam sinned, G-d made him different clothes of aromatic tree leaves from the Garden of Eden. At first he merited spiritual clothes from the achorayim of the higher Garden; now he received more physical clothes and was forced to leave the Garden. Those clothes gave out a fragrance from the aroma of the Garden, and his soul was calmed and uplifted by them.

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.

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From the holy Ari, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria of Safed (A:22-2366/Vayakhel-Pekudei-Archive))

Since the root of the [ sefira] tree from above is bina and from below is malchut, the inner and outer arks were made of gold, while the inner ark was made of wood. This is because gold expresses the full intensity of holy gevura.

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.

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From Rabbi Moshe Alshich (O:22-2366/Vayakhel-Pekudei-Archive)

The phrase "every intelligent person" (Ex. 36:10) is written in the singular, as opposed to "all intelligent people". The verse, however, does not continue in the singular, i.e. "he will bring and he will do". Rather, the plural form, "they will bring and they will do", is included, indicating that their work would enjoy heavenly assistance; each person would in fact become plural, through divine assistance.

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.

FROM THE CHASSIDIC REBBES (V:22-2366/Vayakhel-Pekudei)

"Moshe assembled the entire community … the things that G-d commanded to do them." [35:1]

In their understanding of a mitzvah and their intentions and motivations in doing it, each person differs according to his mental and spiritual capabilities. But in the actual performance of a mitzvah all are equal, for the physical deed is the same for all and well within each person's physical abilities. Therefore, since the purpose was "to do them," Moshe gathered all the people.

(Tchortkover Rebbe)

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

"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.

(Lubavitcher Rebbe)


from the Chabad Master series, produced by Rabbi Yosef Marcus for

www.ascentofsafed.com and www.kabbalaonline.org

MOSHIACH THIS WEEK (M:22-2366/Vayakhel-Pekudei)


An essay from Rabbi Shaul Yosef Leiter, director of Ascent

(for a free weekly email subscription, click here) (W:22-2366/Vayakhel-Pekudei)

May this Torah essay merit the fast and complete recovery of Devorah Gittel bas Baila

G-d commands the Jews, "Six days shall your work be done, and the seventh day will be holy for you, a Shabbat of Shabbats for G-d..." (Ex. 35:2). G-d desired that Shabbat be preceded by six days of work. The Lubavitcher Rebbe explains that the above verse is commanding us to not delve into the physical world, running after our livelihood more than absolutely necessary. The Jews need not (actively) "do the work" to make a living, rather (passively) "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 purpose in life. Our jobs are simply the vessel for receiving our livelihood, and 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 focus into our job, and save our real energies and concentration for performing mitzvahs.

In Psalms it is written, "You shall toil with your hands in order to eat; you will be happy and have goodness." (Psalms 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. 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. This is like a story is told of a chasid who once went to his rebbe and complained at great length about his shoe-mending business travails. After listening to his 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 correctly prepare one for Shabbat. Shabbat should be totally removed from work matters, taking advantage of the extra free time to learn Torah. If someone is too absorbed in making his fortune during the week, it is not hard to imagine the he will catch himself thinking about new deals or purchases throughout Shabbat, instead of focusing on the holiness of the day. A Jew who does recognize that it is G-d alone who grants his or her salary will actually have a sense of Shabbat throughout the whole week and an extra holy "Shabbat of Shabbats".

Shabbat Shalom, Shaul

P.S. Please also read my weekly Shabbat Law, below.)

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