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Assembling the People

WEEKLY SCRIPTURE READING

Torah Portion: Parashiyot Vayakhel-Pekudei...

Shabbat: Mar. 18, 2023 Adar 25, 5783

Vayakhel Torah: Exod. 35:1-38:20

Pekudei Torah: Exod. 38:21-40:38

Vayakhel Prophets: Shabbat HaChodesh

Pekudei Prophets: Ezek. 45:16-46:18

Vayakhel New Covenant: 2 Cor. 9:6-11; 1 Cor. 3:11-18

Pekudei New Covenant: 1 Cor. 3:16-17; Heb. 13:10


The Shema

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength”. Deut. 6:4-5

 

According to tradition, Moses descended from Sinai (with the second set of tablets) on Yom Kippur, and on the following morning he assembled the people to explain God's instructions regarding building the Mishkan (i.e., Tabernacle). Before he did so, however, he again reminded them to observe the Sabbath as a day of complete rest, with the added provision that they may not kindle any fire on this day. Moses then asked for contributions of gold, silver, bronze, and other materials for the construction of the sanctuary and its furnishings. This was to be a free-will offering (נדבת זבח) made by those "whose heart so moved him." As a sign of their complete teshuvah (repentance) for the sin of the Golden Calf, the people gave with such generosity that Moses finally had to ask them to stop giving!


Betzalel and Oholiav were appointed to be the chief artisans of the Mishkan, and they led a team of others that created the roof coverings, frame, wall panels, and foundation sockets for the tent. They also created the parochet (veil) that separated the Holy Place (ha'kodesh) from the Holy of Holies (kodesh ha'kodeshim). Both the roof and the veil were designed with embroidered cherubim (winged angelic beings). Betzalel then created the Ark of the Covenant and its cover called the mercy seat (kapporet), which was the sole object that would occupy the innermost chamber of the Holy of Holies. Betzalel also made the three sacred furnishings for the Holy Place – the Table of Bread (shulchan), the lamp (menorah), and the Altar of Incense (mizbe'ach ha'katoret) – as well as the anointing oil that would consecrate these furnishings.


Betzalel then created the Copper Altar for burnt offerings (along with its implements) and the Copper Basin from the mirrors of women who ministered in the entrance of the tent of meeting. He then formed the courtyard by installing the hangings, posts and foundation sockets, and created the three-colored gate that was used to access the courtyard.

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