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Pekudei Summaries

Vayakhel-Pekudei 5777-2017

Bezalel–Master Craftsman, Master Teacher”

Bezalel, the chief architect of the Mishkan, was not only a master craftsman, he was a master teacher as well.

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Pekudei 5776-2016

“The Mishkan–the Tabernacle, as Collateral”

The Mishkan, the Tabernacle, is not only the home of the Divine Presence. It also serves as critical collateral to ensure the survival of the Jewish people.

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Vayakhel-Pekudei 5775-2015

“Bringing Heaven Down To Earth”

The Biblical narrative describing the final erecting of the Tabernacle teaches that human beings can indeed build an earthly dwelling place for the Divine Presence, and they can even bring the Divine Presence down to earth.

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Pekudei 5774-2014

“Moses Retires from Center Stage”

Despite the superhuman efforts invested by Moses in the construction of the Tabernacle, Moses himself is prevented from entering the Tabernacle when the Divine cloud hovered over the Sanctuary.

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Pekudei 5771-2011

“The Meaning of the Priestly Vestments”

Not only do each of the eight priestly vestments have profound symbolic meanings, but even the way the garments are worn is meant to convey a life lesson to the priests and the people whom they serve.

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Vayakhel-Pekudei 5770-2010

“Heaven Helps Those Who Help Themselves”

The biblical verse announcing the completion of the building of the Tabernacle describes the Tabernacle as if it had erected itself, and also that it had been erected by the people. This conflict is resolved by the rabbinic interpretation, which concludes that the Al-mighty helped the people build the complex structure, but because of the people’s uncommon devotion, attributed the entire building to the people.

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Vayakhel-Pekudei 5769-2009

“All For the Sake of Heaven”

Parashiot Vayakhel-Pekudei are, in essence, repetitions of the instructions regarding building the sanctuary and manufacturing the priestly vestment. The multiple repetitions come to teach that every action in building G-d’s dwelling place must be done for the sake of Heaven. So too must all the actions of every Jew be for the sake of Heaven.

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Pekudei 5768-2008

“Building an Everlasting Sanctuary”

The Tabernacle had been completed after only three months. However, it was not erected for another three months, on Rosh Chodesh Nisan. The purpose of the delay was to enable the spirit of our Patriarch Isaac to pervade the Tabernacle. Although the workers and the architects attempted to raise the Tabernacle, only Moses could do so. He blesses the people in a way that emphasizes that the security of the Tabernacle really depends on the sanctity of the people.

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Pekudei 5765-2005

“Bezalel: the Artist who Broke the Mold”

In parashat Pekudei, the Tabernacle is finally completed and erected. No one involved in its fashioning deserved to celebrate the completion of G-d’s “dwelling place” more than Bezalel, who supervised its construction. No one deserved to glory in its beauty more than Bezalel, and yet this artist humbly fulfilled every instruction that he received from G-d, and did not feel himself at all reduced by being a mere “implementor.” There is much we can all learn from Bezalel’s humility and self-effacing attitude.

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Vayakhel-Pekudei 5764-2004

“Celebrating the Month of Nisan”

The Jewish month of Nisan, the first month that was celebrated by Israel after the birth of the Jewish nation, is heralded each year by an additional reading from the Torah on Shabbat HaChodesh. This special Shabbat serves as a reminder to Jews that G-d grants His people solace in times of grief, support in the face of challenge, and light in the darkest of hours. The month of Nisan signals that redemption and renewal are in the air.

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Pekudei 5763-2003

“The Lesson of the Basin: ‘Don’t Judge a Book By Its Cover'”

According to tradition, the basin that contained the sacred water in the Tabernacle was made of the bronze mirrors that the mirrors used in Egypt to seduce their husbands who had separated from them, not willing to produce children who might be murdered by the Egyptians. Moses, however, was reluctant to accept the bronze from the mirrors considering them objects of vanity. G-d responds that the mirrors are dearer to Him than anything else.

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Vayakhel-Pekudei 5762-2002

“The Original Jewish Renewal Movement”

On the Sabbath prior to the new month of Nisan, a portion known as Parashat Hachodesh is read, announcing the arrival of the new month of Nisan, the first month of the year. Nisan is the month of redemption and salvation. It is a time when the Jewish people burst forth from darkness and despair to allow the glory of G-d to shine forth. This is the original Jewish renewal movement.

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Pekudei 5760-2000

“Honesty and Integrity in Public Life”

In parashat Pekudai, the Torah portion provides an exact accounting of the amount of gold, silver, and copper that was contributed to the construction of the Tabernacle. Honesty and integrity play a major role in the Jewish religion. Leaders especially, who are meant to serve as role models for the rest of the community, are expected to live up to the highest standards.

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