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Torah Portion

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Every Rabbi's got to have an opinion, right?

Torah Portion: Va-Yakhel - Pekudey

by Yacov Fogelman

VAYAKHEL-PKEUDEI, Ex. 35-40, is the detailed execution of all the instructions for building and inaugurating the tabernacle given to Moshe in the previous 3 readings. God's Presence filled the tabernacle-- the test of a true sanctuary; multi-million dollar temples, devoid of daily worshippers and a sense of holiness, are worth as little as rabbis whose main claim to fame is knowledge of archeology, politics, and Biblical criticism. Far more valuable is a little storefront shul, crowded with ardent minyanim, led by Torah scholars filled with awe of God and faith in His Torah. God led Israel to Israel thru the Diaspora Desert via a cloud by day, illuminated by fire by night. Thus Exodus closes with God's Constant Presence restored to the Jewish people, as He was with the Patriarchs (Ramban, vs. the baseless heretical Encyclopedia Judaica article on Exodus, which treats these verses as a later appendage!).

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

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

Maftir Shabbat Ha-Hodesh
The maftir for Shabbat Ha-Hodesh is available online at
Shabbat Parah

Haftarat Shabbat Ha-Hodesh
Ezekiel 45:16-46:18

The Haftarah for Shabbat Ha-Hodesh is available online at
Shabbat Parah

Parshas Hachodesh
Yechezkel 45:16
by Rabbi Dovid Siegel

This week's haftorah which we read in conjunction with Parshas Hachodesh portrays the upcoming month of Nissan in a brilliant light. It begins with an elaborate description of the special sacrifices which will introduce the Messianic era. The prophet Yechezkel focuses on the dedication of the third Bais Hamikdash and says, "On the first day of the first month(Nissan) take a perfect bullock and purify the Bais Hamikdash." (45:18)The Radak (ad loc.) notes that the Jewish nation will return to Eretz Yisroel long before this. During that time most of the construction of the Bais Hamikdash will be completed leaving only final stages for the month of Nissan. Radak suggests that the inaugural services will begin seven days prior to the month of Nissan and will conclude on Rosh Chodesh itself. He offers with this an interpretation to the classic saying of Chazal "In Nissan we were redeemed and in Nissan we are destined to be redeemed"These words, in his opinion, refer to the events of our Haftorah wherein we are informed that the service in the Bais Hamikdash will begin in the month of Nissan.

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VAYAKHEL and PKUDEI EXODUS 35:1-38:20, 38:21- End
A short study of the reading by Yaakov Fogelman,
who lectures on Torah and Zionism

AN INTRODUCTION TO VAYAKHEL: God finished teaching Moshe (Moses) how to build the MISHKAN (tabernacle), a model of the original perfect patterns of creation. AFTER the sin of the calf, He gave him a MUCH GREATER personal revelation, his reward for leaving Sinai to save Israel. The Jews got a suspended sentence, additional detailed laws, and two new tablets. Israel was on a high spiritual level before the sin; God would have prevented them from sinning, but He wanted to teach future generations the potential for repentance in every situation (per A. Z. 4b, Marshah). Now Moshe, his face aglow (unlike during his first descent from Sinai), gathered together the whole community of the Children of Israel and told them: "these are the things which God commanded- to do them (Hirsch- "to make them"). 6 days shall work be done, and the 7th day shall be holy to you, a sabbath of sabbaths to God- anyone doing forbidden work then will be killed. Don't ignite fire in all your dwellings on Shabat day". (then) Moshe spoke to the entire Israelight community: "This is the thing (singular) which God commanded saying... (35:1f)"-

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By Susan Caro
Department of Adult Jewish Growth

Torat Hayim
Vayak'heil/P'kudei, Exodus 35:1-40:38
Shabbat March 24, 2001 / 29 Adar 5761

The renewal of the covenant between God and Israel, as symbolized by the second set of stone tablets, allows the construction of the Tabernacle to proceed. But why does everyone have to be involved in this holy endeavor?

It seems essential, even from the opening word of this week's parashah, Vayak'heil-P'kudei-the convening of a holy community-that all the Israelites must participate in the building of the Mishkan. We learn from Midrash Rabbah that in using fire to fashion the golden calf (Exodus 32:24), the Israelites atone for that sin with fire. Bezalel does this by using fire and metal to fashion the k'lei kodesh, "holy utensils," for the Tabernacle. In this way, he begins the atonement for the people, which transforms sin into holy work. To complete the process, everyone must be involved in the building of a holy space.

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By: Irwin N. Goldenberg
Department of Adult Jewish Growth

Torat Hayim
Vayak'heil/P'kudei, Exodus 35:1-40:38
Shabbat March 24, 2001 / 29 Adar 5761

Why did the Israelites build such an elaborate Tabernacle? Some condemn this act, saying that something grand was needed to assuage the Israelites' guilt for worshiping the golden calf. Others ask, Could not the treasures that were used for the Tabernacle have been put toward the better purpose of feeding the hungry?

But surely Moses, would not encourage a waste of resources. One of my personal mentors, Rabbi Levi Olan, whom I will paraphrase here, pointed out that Israel needed such a Tabernacle to carry them through the forbidding desert of their lives and to serve as a vision of the beauty that life can and should contain. The chochmat lev-those endowed with a heart of wisdom (translated as "skill")-build Tabernacles that heal those of lev namuch, a "depressed heart."

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