Weekly Reading Insights: 
Vayakhel 5765


Overview of the Weekly Reading: Vayakhel

To be read on 24 Adar 5765 (March 5)

Shabbat Mevarchim

Torah: Exodus 35:1- 38:20; Haftorah: Kings I 7:40-50 (parallels to the vessels of the sancturary)

Vayakhel is the 10th Reading out of 11 in Exodus and 22nd overall, and 24th out of 54 in overall length.

Vayakhel begins with 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.


From the holy Zohar, teachings of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Z:22-65/Vayakhel)

[This is as he says] those [prayers] of praise, all stars of light pay tribute to Him, the Heavens of the Heavens honor Him. Through this he establishes the existence of this world.

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:22-65/Vayakhel)

Although the three lower worlds differ from each other with regard to their relative intensity of divine consciousness, they have in common the fact that divine consciousness is sufficiently screened and dimmed to allow self-consciousness as well.

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

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From the Shelah, Shney Luchot HaBrit by Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz (S:22-65/Vayakhel)

Matters concerning the performance of positive commandments are two-fold, i.e. they involve body and soul respectively. Both body and soul consist of hidden as well as revealed aspects. Thus we see that there are a total of four categories. The revealed aspect of the soul is the Torah.

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


"Six days a week shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you a holy day, a Sabbath of rest to G-d." (35:2)

The Torah does not state "you shall do work," but rather, "work shall be done," to teach us that our labors must always be viewed as if they are accomplished by themselves, without our active participation. This healthy attitude towards work makes it easier for a Jew to mentally divest himself of his business worries on Shabbat. Investing an inordinate amount of mental energy into one's business makes it harder for him to properly appreciate the spiritual dimension of the Shabbat day.

(The Lubavitcher Rebbe)


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

www.ascentofsafed.com and www.kabbalaonline.org


"These are the accounts of the Tabernacle (mishkan); the Tabernacle of the testimony." (Ex. 38:21)
Our Sages said that although the First and Second Holy Temples were destroyed, they were never totally taken from the Jewish people but are only being held for a future date as a "mashkon" (pawn); hence, the repetition of the word "Tabernacle." According to Jewish law, the guardian of a pledge is obligated to return it to its owner in perfect condition when the proper time comes. The Third Holy Temple will therefore possess all of the same qualities and characteristics as the First and Second Temples that were held as a pledge until Moshiach's coming.
(The Lubavitcher Rebbe)

[Reprinted with permission from L'Chaim Magazine (www.lchaim.org).]

An essay from Rabbi Shaul Yosef Leiter, director of Ascent

(for a free weekly email subscription, click here) (W:22-65/Vayakhel )

Coming Close
By Rabbi Shaul Leiter

The Shlah wrote that sleeping on Shabbat is pleasure (oneg) but only in correct measure, because Shabbat is really for learning Torah! The Midrash says that the Torah stood before G-d and complained, "Master of the universe, when the Jewish people will enter the Land, one will run to his orchard, and someone else to his field, and what will be with me?" Answered the Almighty, "I have a match that I will pair up with you, and Shabbat is her name. On the day the Jewish people refrain from their work they can be involved with you."

The Shlah continues: "And Moses gathered together the Jewish people". (Ex. 35:1) Midrash Tanchuma notes that from the beginning of the Torah until the end, no chapter begins with gathering the people except this one. Why?

While still on Mount Sinai, G-d said to Moses, "Go down and gather large groups together for the sake of Shabbat." This is so that all future generations will learn that they should gather together in the synagogues and study halls on Shabbat and study Torah in groups.

In addition to this, G-d said to the Jews, "If you will gather together every Shabbat and read from the Torah and the Prophets, I ascribe merit to you as though you made Me king in My world". This is as the prophet Isaiah says, "You are my witness, and I am your G-d" (Ex. 43:12); this is as if to say that by reading from the Torah, we are testifying that G-d is master of the world. In fact, each person is obligated to learn new Torah teachings every Shabbat; each Saturday night when the extra Shabbat soul we are granted returns to its heavenly source, G-d asks, "What new Torah idea did you learn this Shabbat?"

Based on the word "vayakhel", meaning "to gather" in Hebrew, the Lubavitcher Rebbe emphasized the effort required of us to reveal every creation's true essence and purpose. Through this we will "gather" all of reality to be united in serving the Creator. To successfully reveal the unity of Creation, we must begin with unifying the Jewish people. We must gather together, express our love for one another, and refrain from being critical of each other. We thereby reveal that we are essentially one, parts of One Divine Essence. Then we will succeed in uniting the world. Not only that, but truly bringing ourselves to this state is the preparation for the final gathering, the gathering of all of the exiles together which will happen when Mashiach comes, may it happen immediately.

Shabbat Shalom, Shaul

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

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