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Archive for February, 2014

Parshat Pekudei

Posted by rabbiart on February 23, 2014

Everyone knows what a palindrome is. Our parshah opens with a verse that while not a palindrome, immediately suggests one.

אֵלֶּה פְקוּדֵי הַמִּשְׁכָּן מִשְׁכַּן הָעֵדֻת, אֲשֶׁר פֻּקַּד עַל-פִּי מֹשֶׁה

It’s a well established principle that no word or even letter in the Torah is superfluous. When we begin to look deeply at this verse four words, which are only two roots, jump out at us. Reading in the transliterated form we have “pekudei ha-mishkan, mishkan ha-edut, asher pakad . Stripped down and in the root form, we have l’paked – mishkan – mishkan – l’paked.

The root PKD can be translated as to command, to count, to enumerate, even “to visit” or “to remember” (as in “HaShem pakad et Sarah” Breshit 21:1). The mishkan which we build and rebuild so that HaShem will dwell among us, is commanded for us to build.  This verse is instructing us that our accepting of the commandment, along with our visiting it and remembering it’s purpose, is what makes the mishkan into a truly alive active and vibrant place where HaShem dwells in and among us.

As Midrash Tanhuma puts it (paragraph 2 on this parasha).  [The double occurrence of] the word comes to say that the lower sanctuary points to the upper sanctuary and is parallel to it.

R Yakov the son of R. Asi said: Why does he say “Adonai I love the habitation of your house, the place where your glory dwells”. (Psalms 26) Because building the Mishkan is parallel to  and like creating the world!  How?

(A series of word-play connections follows)

On the first day it is written “In the beginning HaShem created the heavens and earth” as it is written in Psalms 104 “He stretches the heavens as a curtain“. Regarding the Mishkan it is written “You shall make a curtain of goat skins (Shmot 26)

On the second day it is written “Let there be a firmament (which divides) the upper and lower waters). With regard to the Mishkan “and the parochet shall divide between the holy and the holy of holies.
On the third day it is written “Let the waters be gathered”. With regard to the Mishkan “you shal put water (in the brass laver)” (Shmot 30).On the fourth day it is written “Let there be lights in the firmament”. With regard to the Mishkan “make a golden light-holder“.On the fifth day it is written “let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let fowl fly”. With regard to the Mishkan “offer sacrifices of lambs and fowl”.

On the sixth day it is written “Elohim created man in his image”. With regard to the Mishkan “A man who is the high priest who has been anointed to serve before HaShem”.

On the seventh day it is written “The heavens and earth were completed“. With regard to the Mishkan “the work was completed“. In creating the world “Elohim blessed“. With regard to the Mishkan “Moshe blessed them”. In creating the world it is written “vayikadesh oto“. With regard to the Mishkan it is written “vayikadesh oto“.

So why is the Mishkan parallel to and equal to heaven and earth. Because what are heaven and earth but witness for Israel, as it is written “I call heaven and earth to witness” (Devarim 30). Regarding the Mishkan it is written ” this is the account of the Mishkan, the Mishkan is the witness“.

Thus we learn from the Psalmist “HaShem I love the habitation of your House and the place where your presence lives and dwells”.

We build the Mishkan so HaShem will live among us. We feel the presence of HaShem living among us, so we build and rebuild the Mishkan.


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