Monday, February 24, 2014

Shabbat Shekalim-P'kudei

Exodus 38:21-40:38; Exodus 30:11-16

God is in the Details

The Torah teaches us to think globally and act locally.

By Rabbi Eliezer Shore; Provided by Canfei Nesharim, providing Torah wisdom about the importance of protecting our environment.

Pekudei is the Torah portion of details.

This short, seemingly redundant parashah does little more than sum up the information presented already twice in the preceding chapters.

In Terumah and Tetzaveh, Moses receives from God the instructions for building the Mishkan, including its utensils and the priestly garments. Vayakhel describes the actual construction of these items. Whereas Pekudei begins with an accounting of all the material that went into the project, and concludes with a further recounting of the Mishkan's parts as they are finally erected into a single structure by Moses.

Considering how incredibly sparing the Torah is with words, it seems strange that this parashah should spend so much time simply summing up what was said before. Why wasn't it enough for the Torah to simply state: "And the people did all that Moses commanded, and Moses assembled the Mishkan." Perhaps the answer lies in the nature and purpose of the Mishkan, and its relationship to the creation.

Revelation & Redemption

According to Nahmanides, the Mishkan was the continuation of the Sinaitic revelation into history. Just as God spoke to Moses from the top of the mountain, so He continued to address him from out of the Mishkan. The Mishkan--and the Temple after it--was a "portable" Mount Sinai. It was a place of continual revelation, where the presence of God could be felt and experienced vividly.

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