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עשה תורתך קבע – אמור מעט ועשה הרבה

פְקוּדֵי – וַיַּקְהֵל The End of the Beginning

Posted by rabbiart on March 17, 2009

This Shabbat we read the double parshah of Vayakhel-Pekudei. By the time we rise and pronounce the traditional formula of Hazak, Hazak v’Nithazek we will have reached the end of multiple beginnings.  We have completed the building of the Mishkan – in all regards according to its plan.  We will have completed the beginning of building ourselves into a nation; maybe not so much completely according to the plan.  And we will have understood one of the great mysteries of creation and learned how humankind is truly like the divine.

Building the Mishkan According to the Plan

As VaYahkel opens, Moshe again commands Israel to contribute materials, spirit and energy to building a house for HaShem.

וְכָל-חֲכַם-לֵב, בָּכֶם, יָבֹאוּ וְיַעֲשׂוּ, אֵת כָּל-אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְהוָה. אֶת-הַמִּשְׁכָּן

Everyone with a wise heart, come and make all that HaShem has commanded, the Mishkan…[and all its parts]

In a development that should warm the heart and encourage the efforts of every synagogue fund-raising effort, the people bring more than is required. They bring so much so that Bezalael and Oholiab report back to Moshe that the people have brought more contributions than can possibly be used.  Shemot 36:5-7 (Say, is it too late to get the leftovers?)

Finally, in the penultimate verse of the penultimate chapter of the Book of Shemot, we read that “According to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so the children of Israel did all the work”.  The Mishkan has been built, and now, as promised, HaShem can live among the Israelites.

Commenting on the end of this building saga, Rashi refers to Psalm 90, which we recite in the Shacharit service each day.

וִיהִי, נֹעַם אֲדֹנָי אֱלֹהֵינוּ– עָלֵינוּ: וּמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֵינוּ, כּוֹנְנָה עָלֵינוּ; וּמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֵינוּ, כּוֹנְנֵהוּ.

Behold, let the pleasant nature of Hashem be on us; let our hands reflect your intentions, establish your intentions in the work of our hands

Israel has built a house for HaShem, but (more importantly?) Israel has made its own work of creation, completing the beginning of building itself (ourselves) into a nation. One more chapter, and we will be strong and growing stronger, although a long road lies ahead, just as it does today. And just as HaShem renews each day Hashem’s marvelous work of creation, Israel must create anew each day.

Stay tuned to examine how we learn – in this Parshah – to understand one of the great mysteries of creation.


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