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Vayakel/Pekudei ~ 5773 ~ ויקהל־פקודי
The Commandment of Shabbat observance is again reiterated, specifically the forbidding of making fires. Moshe asks for donations of gold, silver, brass, blue, purple, scarlet, linen and goat hair fabric, as well as seal and ram skins to be used in constructing the Sanctuary. Men and women responded generously and willingly with donations of materials and labor.
Bezalel and Ohaliav are singled out as the Master Craftsmen who supervised all the Sanctuary artisanship and construction. The intricacies of the woodwork, metal, and weavings are given in detail. The donations to this work are so excessive that Moshe must ask Israel to stop donating. The mechanism of constructing the veil, curtains pinions and staves of the Sanctuary are detailed here as well as the configurations of the Ark of the Tablets and Table of showbreads. The entire Candelabrum-Menorah, even though excessively ornate and decorated, is beaten from one solid piece of pure gold. Matching tongs and snuffers are likewise made. The Incense Altar is described along with informing us of Bezalel’s making Anointing Oil.
The making of the Sacrificial Altar, its pots, pans, shovels, hooks and carrying staves are explained herein. The Courtyard and its curtains are made using the technique consistent with the entire structure and the Tabernacle’s motif. The cost accounting and financial management is given, accomplished by Itamar, Aaron’s youngest son. The weights of Gold and Silver correspond to the population numbers gathered in the previous census. The making of the High Priest’s Vestments, holy garments, are described here. It included the Ephod, Breast Plate, its twelve stones and engraved Tribal Names, and the chains and rings used to tie them on the wearer.
All the magnificent, awe-inspiring handiwork to be used in the worship of G-d in the Sanctuary and worn by the priests is completed. Moshe sees the work is completed and blesses Israel. On Rosh Chodesh Nisan, two weeks short of exactly a year after the Great Exodus, the Tabernacle is erected under Moshe’s scrutiny. The contents, furniture and vestments are placed in order. A cloud covered the Tabernacle which represented the Glory of G-d. When the Cloud lifted it meant the Israelites are to travel onward.
MAFTIR Exodus 12:1-20 ~ page 253-257
HAFTORAH Shabbat HaChodesh Ezekiel 45:16 – 46:18 ~ page 1001
Read on the Shabbat before or on the first of Nisan: In the New Temple conceived by the prophet, the Prince of the nation was to be responsible for the supply of sacrifices, bought from public contributions, at the appointed seasons. Among the festival sacrifices were the offerings to be brought on the Passover.
1. Why do we physically pour and place the cup for Elijah on the table if we know that he doesn’t actually drink it? What about the sin of “Baal Tashchit” –wasting food?
2. Why does Rabbi Yehudah make an abbreviation for the ten plagues (“Detzach, Adash B’Achav”)?
3. What is the connection between Purim and Passover? Shavuot and Passover?
4. Why is the paragraph of “Ha lachma – this is the bread of our “affliction” composed in Aramaic rather than in Hebrew like the rest of the Haggadah?
5. Why, in Jewish tradition, is the yetzer harah (evil inclination) compared to chametz (leavened food)?