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Torah Portion

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Torah Portion: Va-Yakhel - Pekudey

Parashat Va-Yakhel - Pekudey
Exodus 35:1 - 40:38; 12:1-20

The text of Parashat Va-Yakhel - Pekudey is available online at
Parashat Ki Sisa

Maftir Shabbat Parah
Numbers 19:1-22

The maftir for Shabbat Parah is available online at
Shabbat Parah

Haftarat Parah
Ezekiel 36:16-38
The text of Haftarat Tetsavveh is available online at
Haftarat Parah

Parshas Parah
Yechezkel 36:16
by Rabbi Dovid Siegel

This week's Haftorah, read in conjunction with Parshas Parah, describes the Jewish people's state of purity in the time of Mashiach. . The prophet Yechezkel says in Hashem's name, "And I will sprinkle pure waters upon you which will purify you from all your impurities and repulsive actions." Yechezkel refers here to the Jewish people's ultimate perfection when Hashem will totally cleanse them from sin. The prophet compares this experience to purification from ritual impurity. It is worthwhile to focus on the particular symbolism he used. He did not compare their purification to the traditional immersion process rather to the purifying waters of the red heifer. This detailed and mysterious procedure purified one from his direct contact with a corpse. Such contact transferred a severe state of ritual impurity which required a unique purification process. Yechezkel's symbolism suggests a direct corollary between association with sin and association with death. Apparently, ultimate removal of any relationship to sin is similar to removal of the ritual effects of death.

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Summary of The Weekly Torah Reading: Parshas Ki Sisa
by Rabbi Aron Tendler

1st Aliya: This first Aliya concludes the details of the Mishkan's construction. The Bnai Yisroel are commanded to give the half Shekel toward a national census and the purchasing of the public offerings. The copper washstand, the Kiyor, is described along with the ingredients and laws of the anointing oil and the Ketores - the incense. Betzallel, the son of Chur and grandson of Miriam is identified as the chief artisan and architect of the Mishkan. (Note: he was only 13 yr. old!) The Mitzvah of Shabbos is commanded. Its juxtaposition to the details of the Mishkan provides the Gemara with the source for determining the 39 categories of Melacha prohibited on Shabbos.

2nd Aliya: The story of the Golden Calf is told. Moshe ascended Sinai on the morning of Sivan 7, and remained 40 days and nights. The 7th didn't start with a night, so it wasn't included in the total of 40. The Jews mistakenly assumed that it was to be included and expected Moshe back on the morning of Tamuz 16. Instead, he returned the morning of Tamuz 17. By midday of the 16th, the Jews were already desperate. Chur attempts to reason with them and is killed. They approach Aharon who attempts to redirect their terror which results in the Golden Calf. Moshe appears the next morning, breaks the Luchos, marshals the tribe of Levi, and 3000 people are killed. Moshe demands Hashem's forgiveness for the people, but moves the Ohel Moed out from the midst of the camp. Yehoshua is proclaimed the main student of Moshe.

3rd & 4th Aliyot: Moshe requests to understand Hashem's system of justice. He is granted a greater understanding of Hashem than any other person in history, but is denied the ability to comprehend divine justice.

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EXODUS 30:11-34:35
A brief summary
from Torah Outreach Program (

This portion and the rest of Israel's desert trek is indeed a "see-saw", ascending to the heights of eternal life in heaven and plunging to the transient depths of death upon earth. God commands a half silver shekel redemptive poll tax, the proceeds to be used for the tabernacle; Moshe is given instructions for making the last tabernacle furnishing, the copper laver, and the anointing oil and incense. Bezalel and Oholiav are to supervise the tabernacle construction, forbidden on Shabbat. Then God gave Moshe the Decalogue on 2 tablets; but Moshe must leave Sinai's Supreme Kollel Kodesh to redeem Israel, who made the Golden Calf in his absence. Tho God accepted Moshe's prayers not to destroy Israel, he smashed the tablets when he saw the Golden Calf Disco (cf. Eilat, Dizengoff). Moshe led the Levites in slaying 3000 ringleaders; this was followed by a Divine plague (and protest demonstrations by the Sinai Secular Humanist Society?).

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Rabbi Stephen M Wylen
March 16, 2001 21 Adar, 5761

This is what you shall give, each person who goes before the census-taker to be counted - one half a shekel, according to the sanctuary shekel, twenty gerahs to a shekel - half a shekel, as a contribution to God. The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, as a contribution to God for atonement for their souls. (Exodus 30:13-15)

by Rabbi Elijah, the Gaon of Vilna "the rich shall not give more and the poor shall not give less" The first half of this verse is surely not the reason that the verse is said, rather the second phrase is the essence of this verse. As for the rich not giving more, we don't have to fear lest the rich increase their contribution. But for the poor not to give less, that certainly requires emphasis!
(In Itturei Torah ad loc.)

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KI SISA- EXODUS 30:11-34:35
A short study of the reading by Yaakov Fogelman,
who lectures on Torah and Zionism

A PLAYFUL INTRODUCTION: Imagine that a 4 year old U.S. Oleh hears the first 2 words of our portion-ki sisa-"when you lift up (count)"; as this expression isn't used in modern Hebrew, he'll likely translate it: "when you go on a seesaw"!

In our unified world, all stems from God and is ultimately connected to everything else; our physical reality is the audiovisual division of His Great Academy. So this association of the portion with a "see-saw", naturally popping up in an American unconscious stream of consciousness, turns out indeed to be a leit-motif of our portion. Perhaps we need the interpretations of every time, place and civilization to get all of the Torah's nuances. Zechariah ben Yehoshua ben Saruk (15th century, Spain and Morocco, author of "Peirush Megillat 'Ahashverosh", 1493, published in Venice, 1565*) justifies his writing yet another commentary on Esther, for: 1) the book is divinely inspired, and therefore limitless in scope. 2)

Man, being composed of matter and spirit, is limited in his capacities; therefore, a human being can never totally comprehend the Divine and there is always something to be added to what has already been said about a divinely inspired book.

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Ki Sisa
Parsha Va Era
Parsha Shemot
Parsha Vayechi
Parsha Miketz
Parsha Chanuka
Parsha Vayishlach
Parsha Vayetze
Parsha Teldos


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