Weekly Reading Insights: 
Pekudei 5765


Overview of the Weekly Reading: Pekudei

To be read on 1 Adar II 5765 (March 12)

Shabbat Shekalim, Rosh Chodesh and Chazak.

Torah: Exodus 38:21-40:38,maftir Ex. 30:11-16 (shekalim) and Num. 28:9-15 (Rosh Chodesh); Haftorah: Kings II 12:1-17 (money gifts for the sancturary because of Shabbat Shekalim)

Pekudei is the 11th Reading out of 11 in Exodus and 23rd overall, and 41sth out of 54 in overall length.

Pikudei opens with an accounting of all materials used in making the Tabernacle. Then described are the methods used in making the priestsí 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-dís 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. 


From the holy Zohar, teachings of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai

[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

Just as malchut has nothing of its own, the moon merely reflects the light of the sun. Just as malchut's emptiness or fullness is dependent upon the extent to which it is funneling the content of the preceding sefirot into Creation, the moon waxes and wanes in accordance with how much it receives of the sun's light.

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

There is a sound reason why man should not be liable to punishment at the hands of heaven until he has reached that age. He is not yet mature emotionally and intellectually. Such maturity is essential to enable us to successfully battle the evil urge and to appreciate G-d's message to man. By the time man has reached the age of 20, he is considered fully equipped to cope with all kinds of temptations.

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




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:23-65/Pekudei)

More than half of parashat Pekudei is an accounting of materials donated for the Tabernacle and its service. There is a famous Talmudic dictum that a blessing only dwells on something hidden (Baba Metzia 42a); the Lubavitcher Rebbe says that although counting something interferes with its blessing, when the counting is done "according to Moses", the blessing is limitless. This is the reason that when counting something, even for a holy purpose, the custom is to assign each person a word from a Torah verse with a known number of words. Then this counting is also "according to Moses", and the blessing will be unbounded.

The10-word verse customarily used is Psalms 28:9: "Save your nation, and bless your portion, guard them and raise them forever". Why this verse? Because now, during the period just before Mashiach's arrival, when Jews meet, their first request is: "G-d, Save your nation" - by bringing the redemption immediately.

Concerning counting interfering with blessings, the Zohar states that since the Tabernacle was so holy, the blessings were unaffected. So what was the purpose of counting every detail of the Tabernacle? Rabbi Chaim Halberstam of Sanz explains that the details of the Tabernacle correspond to parts of the human body. Just as the Tabernacle was the dwelling place for G-d in that era, so too, the human body must be sanctified in our generation, so it can be a dwelling place for G-d. In addition to this, when something can be counted, it cannot lose its identity. Therefore, the elements of the Tabernacle had to be counted.

"These are the commands of the Tabernacle, Tabernacle of Testimony" (Ex. 38:21)
Why does the verse mention the word Tabernacle twice? Rebbe Michel of Zlochow always said that the key to understanding the answer to all questions about the Torah begins with accepting that the Torah is an eternal document whose purpose is to lead a person closer to G-d. Connecting to our spiritual Source can happen with each daily prayer. Yet, if this is really so, it should be apparent that we are spiritually ascending with each prayer.

But we see that this is not the case. The problem is that after each prayer session, most of us return physically and intellectually to the attractions of this material world, and this immediately pulls us back to where we started. The solution is that even in our mundane activities, we must maintain our connection with G-d, contemplating our relationship with Him, and always following His path to accomplish every task in the most sanctified way.

In Hebrew the word for Tabernacle is "Mishkan", which comes from the root meaning "to dwell". From this we can understand the inner meaning of the verse, "commands of the Tabernacle, Tabernacle of Testimony": "If you want the Torah commands to truly dwell (from the Hebrew root "mishkan", also meaning "Tabernacle") in you, you have to make yourself be a dwelling place (also "mishkan") for the testimony". How? By purifying and focusing your thoughts on the spiritual, as described above. Similarly, a person must examine him or herself to see if the commandments are being performed properly and without arrogance. If so, it is good for the health of our souls and bodies for now and the future, and through this will come the redemption.

Why was the Tabernacle called the "Tabernacle of testimony"? Rebbe Shimon, in the midrashic commentary called the Mechilta, says it is a testimony to the whole world that the Jews were forgiven for the sin of the Golden Calf. But why was "testimony" needed? The Mitamim writes that the only reason the Jews sinned was to teach future generations that it is possible to receive forgiveness even for a sin as serious as idol worship. The purpose of the Tabernacle is to remind us there is always a path back to G-d. [Both of these explanations are drawn from the text Otzar Chaim compiled by Chaim Yaakov Zuckerman (Hebrew).]

"And the children of Israel did all that G-d commanded Moses, and so they did" (Ex. 39:32)
The Kotzker Rebbe wrote that the above verse implies that if Moses was not the one who commanded the Jews, it would not have been possible for them to do what G-d required. Moses' intermediate role in the situation was absolutely necessary. So too, we must all connect to the Torah leader, the Moses of our generation, in order for our performance of the mitzvot.

Shabbat Shalom, Shaul

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

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