This week we will be reading two parshah’s, named Vayakhel and Pekudei. Both these Parshah’s are very much a repitition of what the Torah states in Parshat Terumah, Tetzaveh and Ki Tisa. I am now going to relate various ideas in Parshat Vayakhel.
The parshah starts off relating the importance of Shabbat, that one should work six days and on the seventh day rest (Shemot 35:2).
Hashem then instructs Moshe to instruct all the Jews to donate various items for the making of the Tabernacle. There were various types of labour that were essential in making the Tabernacle, the Rabbi's derive from this that there were 39 categories. From the juxtoposition of the first verse of the Tabernacle next to the two verses on Shabbat, the Rabbi's derived that the 39 categories of the Tabernacle are the ones that are forbidden to be performed on Shabbat (Shabbat 97b).
Many commentaries state that the Tabernacle was made as an atonement for the sin of the ‘Golden Calf.’ After the major transgression of the Golden Calf (Shemot 32:4), Hashem’s Divine presence did not totally rest upon the Jews. However by building the Tabernacle, Hashem would be able to dwell his presence upon the Tabernacle.
All the Jews rushed forward to contribute to the Tabernacle, donating; gold, silver, copper, turquoise, purple, scarlet wool, linen, goat hair, red dyed ram skins, Tachash skins, acacia wood, oil for illumination, spice for anointment and Shoham stones for the breastplate (Shemot 35:6/9).
By all the Jews bringing with enthusiasm, these items, they in a way atoned for the transgression of the calf. And had done teshuva (repented). In turn it united a repented Jewish nation. The ultimate form of repentance should be done with both love and fear of Hashem, two attribute that the Jews had while donating for the Tabernacle. They in facts raised so much money in materials for the Tabernacle that Moshe had to instruct the Jews to not bring any more after one day of donations (Shemot 36:6)!! How often do we find people raising money for example for a synagogue/yeshiva and request people to stop donating?? Virtually unheard of! This just shows how much the Jews regretted their sin.
These contributions were used in making many components of the Tabernacle; the tent, its cover, its hooks, its planks, its bars, its pillars, its sockets, the ark, its staves, the cover, the partition curtain, the table, its staves, the utensils, the menorah, its lamps, the incense alter, the entrance screen, the elevation offering alter, the copper netting, the gate of the courtyard, the pegs for the tabernacle, the knit vestments to serve in the sanctuary and for many other uses related to the Tabernacle…
The Torah then once again relates that Betzalel and Ohaliab were to partner up in making the Tabernacle along with many ‘wise hearted individuals.’ Betzalel was only 13 years old, however Hashem provided him with the insights and knowledge in how to make the Tabernacle (Berachot 55a).
The Torah then goes on to describe each of the Tabernacles accessories, featuring their measurements, however all these measurements allude to various different insights. One of the items featured in the Tabernacle, which was described also in last weeks reading was the 'Laver' (Shemot 38:8). This was a very large copper basin in the Tabernacle courtyard from which the Kohanim were required to wash their hands and feet with before performing the service. The copper was donated by the women; in fact, the copper came from mirrors that the Jewish women owned way back from the time they spent in Egypt, while the men were in slave labor. The ladies used these mirrors, to beautify themselves, so that when the husbands came back from the back breaking labor, they would be aroused by their wives who used these mirrors to beautify themselves, in turn, helping repopulating the Jewish people (Rashi). From this we learn, one should always try and focus their attention on their partner, and not for the general public. In trying to look best when they spend time with their husband or wife, rather than only making an effort when going to ‘work’ or to the public street while doing shopping.
I will be sending out a Dvar Torah in due coarse on Parshat Pekudai. This Dvar Torah is dedicated to Michal Bat Chana, who is suffering from memory problems, please pray for her to get better and do good acts of kindness for this! .