THE TORAH READING FOR 29 ADAR 5781 MARCH 12-13, 2021
From ReformJudaism.org https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/vayakheil-pkudei
Vayak’heil – P’kudei (וַיַּקְהֵל – פְקוּדֵי — [Moses] Assembled / [The] Records [of the Tabernacle]) – Exodus 35:1-40:38
These are the records of the Tabernacle, the Tabernacle of the Pact, which were drawn up at Moses’ bidding—the work of the Levites under the direction of Ithamar son of Aaron the priest. – Exodus 38:21 Moses then convoked the whole Israelite community and said to them: “These are the things that the Eternal has commanded you to do.” – Exodus 35:1
- Moses teaches the rules of Shabbat. (35:1-3)
- Moses asks the Israelites for a donation of gifts and those who are skilled help build the Mishkan [Tabernacle] under the direction of Bezalel and Oholiab. (35:4-38:20)
- A statistical summary of the materials used for the Tabernacle and an account of producing the priestly vestments are recorded. Moses blesses the Israelites for the work they did. (38:21-39:42)
- Upon God’s instruction, Moses sets up the Mishkan and the priests are anointed and consecrated. (40:1-33)
- A description is given of a cloud that covers the Mishkan by day and a fire that burns by night, indicating God’s Presence therein. (40:33-38) [The Book of Exodus ends here.]
Upon completing a book of Torah Ashkenazi Jews shout “Chazak! Chazak! Venit-chazëk” which is translated as “Be strong! Be strong! And may we be strengthened!” The Sephardic custom is to say “Chazak U’baruch” (“strength and blessing”) at the end of every single individual Torah reading; the response is “Chazak Ve’ematz” (“be strong and have courage” from Deut. 31:23) or “Baruch Tihiye” (“may you be blessed.”)
This Shabbat, Shabbat HaChodesh (announcing the new month of Nisan), is one of the four specially designated Shabbatot before Passover. In other words, Passover is almost here!
When the parashah coincides with Shabbat HaChodesh (“Sabbath [of] the month,” the special Sabbath preceding the Hebrew month of Nissan – as it does in 2013 and 2017), the haftarah is:
- for Ashkenazi Jews: Ezekiel 45:16–46:25
- for Sephardi Jews: Ezekiel 45:18–46:15
On Shabbat HaChodesh, Jews read Exodus 12:1–20, in which God commands that “This month [Nissan] shall be the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year,” and in which God issued the commandments of Passover. Similarly, the haftarah in Ezekiel 45:21–25 discusses Passover. In both the special reading and the haftarah, God instructs the Israelites to apply blood to doorposts.
ROSH CHODESH NISAN
Begins at sundown on Saturday, March 13 and ends at sundown Sunday, March 14, 2021. Nisan is the first month of the Hebrew calendar. Pesach falls in Nisan.
STRUGGLING WITH TORAH
From Wikipedia.org https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vayakhel
Vayakhel or Vayaqhël (וַיַּקְהֵל — Hebrew for “and he assembled”) – Exodus 35:1-38:20
The parashah tells of the making of the Tabernacle and its sacred vessels.
From Wikipedia.org https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pekudei
Pekudëi (פְקוּדֵי — Hebrew for “amounts of”) – Exodus 38:21-40:38
The parashah tells of the setting up of the Tabernacle.
[The triennial reading, Ex 37:17-39:21, in the part from Vayakhel, the artisan Bezalel (בְּצַלְאֵל, of the Tribe of Judah), makes the menorah, incense altar, altar for sacrifices, laver and the enclosure for the Tabernacle.
In the part from Pekudëi, Moses directs Aaron’s son Ithamar to oversee the accounts of the Tabernacle. The text sets forth the amounts of gold, silver and copper that Bezalel, Oholiab (אָהֳלִיאָב, of the Tribe of Dan) and their coworkers used. The silver comes from the half-shekel for each man 20 years old and older counted in the census. The artisans make the priests‘ garments, the ephod and the breastpiece — just as God commanded.]
Commentators note that the Hebrew Bible repeats the commandment to observe the Sabbath 12 times. 2 Chronicles 1:5–6 reports that the bronze altar, which Exodus 38:1–2 reports Bezalel made, still stood before the Tabernacle in Solomon’s time, and Solomon sacrificed a thousand burnt offerings on it. Exodus 38:8 reports that Bezalel made the bronze laver and its base from “the mirrors of the serving women who did service at the door of the tent of meeting.” 1 Samuel 2:22 reports that Eli’s sons “lay with the women who did service at the door of the tent of meeting.”
In Modern Interpretation – Exodus chapters 35–39
Noting that Exodus 35–39 repeats material from Exodus 25–31, the 19th century Romanian-Argentine explorer Julius Popper argued that Exodus 35–39 was a later addition, and the Dutch Protestant theologian Abraham Kuenen and the German biblical scholar Julius Wellhausen agreed. But the mid-20th-century Italian-Israeli scholar Umberto Cassuto, formerly of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, argued that this conjecture was ignorant of ancient Eastern literary style.
Cassuto noted that the theme of the founding and building of a shrine was a set literary type in early Eastern writings, and such passages often first recorded the divine utterance describing the plan for the sanctuary and then gave an account of the construction that repeated the description given in the divine communication. Cassuto cited the Ugaritic epic of King Keret, which tells that in a dream, the king received from the god El instructions for the offering of sacrifices, the mustering of an army, the organizing of a military campaign to the land of King Pabel, and the request that Pabel’s daughter or granddaughter be given him as a wife.
After the instructions, the epic repeats the instructions, varying only the verb forms to the past tense, adding or deleting a conjunction, substituting a synonym, or varying the sequence of words – exactly as Exodus 35–39 does. Cassuto concluded that Exodus 35–39 was thus not a later addition, but required where it is by the literary style.
Professor James Kugel of Bar Ilan University wrote that the detailed account must have held a fascination for ancient Israelites who viewed the Tabernacle as highly significant, as the structure that allowed God to reside in the midst of humankind for the first time since the Garden of Eden. And the 20th century Reform Rabbi Gunther Plaut cautioned not to approach Exodus 35–39 with modern stylistic prejudices, arguing that a person of the ancient Near East – who was primarily a listener, not a reader – found repetition a welcome way of supporting familiarity with the text, giving assurance that the tradition had been faithfully transmitted.
Exodus 38:24 reports that Bezalel and Oholiab used roughly a ton of gold in making the Tabernacle. According to one estimate, the metal listed in Exodus 38:24–29 amounted to 2,210 pounds of gold, 7,601 pounds of silver, and 5,350 pounds of copper.
REFLECTION – Tent of Meeting (Ohel Mo’ed) or Tabernacle (Mishkan)
From Wikipedia.org https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pekudei
Noting the juxtaposition of the two terms “Tabernacle” (מִשְׁכַּן, Mishkan) and [the] “Tent of Meeting” (אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד, Ohel Mo’ed) in Exodus 39:32, 40; 40:2, 6, 29; Umberto Cassuto wrote that the two synonymous expressions stand in juxtaposition to stress the formal solemnity of the statement of the formal ending of the account of the Tabernacle’s construction. Nahum Sarna wrote that the combination of the two distinct terms for the sanctuary together expresses its dual function as the symbol of the indwelling of the Divine Presence in the camp of Israel and as the site of communication between God and Moses. Gunther Plaut concluded that the two terms probably reflect two traditions, one using the term “Tabernacle” (מִשְׁכַּן, Mishkan) and the other the term “Tent” (אֹהֶל, Ohel).
Plaut reported that the school of Julius Wellhausen considered the “Tent” tradition the older and the “Tabernacle” passages as retrojections of the Priestly source and therefore as largely unhistorical. Plaut reported that another theory assigned the Ark and Tabernacle to a northern and the Tent of Meeting to a southern source and held that David, by putting the Ark into the Tent in 2 Samuel 6:17, united the tribes and traditions and that thereafter the term “Tabernacle of the Tent of Meeting” (מִשְׁכַּן אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד, Mishkan Ohel Mo-ed) was coined.
[At this week’s Temple Sinai Tuesday Morning Minyan, the Darshan (דַּרְשָׁן or דַּרְשָׁנִית – Hebrew for “deliverer of the d’rash”) stated that “God made room for us by inviting us at Sinai. We make room for God in building the Mishkan. The twelve tribes become one people bound together by Shabbat.”
Whether or not one believes in God, the Divine, a force beyond us or simple the energy of the universe – whatever name we give the vitality in us and all of creation, becoming aware of it and inviting its expression in, through and with us, we build the Mishkan/Tent of Meeting and “make room for God.”]
From “Mishkan T’filah / A Reform Siddur”:
ROSH CHODESH – FOR THE NEW MONTH p.519:
Our God and God of our ancestors, may the new month bring us goodness and blessing. May we have long life, peace, prosperity, a life exalted by love of Torah and reverence for the divine; a life in which the longings of our hearts are fulfilled for good.
FOR OUR COUNTRY p.516
THUS SAYS ADONAI, This is what I desire: to unlock the fetters of wickedness, and untie the cords of lawlessness; to let the oppressed go free, to break off every yoke. Share your bread with the hungry, and take the wretched poor into your home. When you see the naked, give clothing, and do not ignore your own kin.
O GUARDIAN of life and liberty, may our nation always merit Your protection. Teach us to give thanks for what we have by sharing it with those who are in need. Keep our eyes open to the wonders of creation, and alert to the care of the earth. May we never be lazy in the work of peace; may we honor those who have [served, suffered or] died in defense of our ideals. Grant our leaders wisdom and forbearance. May they govern with justice and compassion. Help us all to appreciate one another, and to respect the many ways that we may serve You. May our homes be safe from affliction and strife, and our country be sound in body and spirit. Amen.
We recite MI SHEBËRACH for the victims of brutality, abuse, fear, natural disasters, pandemics, violence, and war; for all those at home alone; for all those in need of physical, emotional, and mental healing. “R’fuah sh’lëmah” – a complete recovery!
We say KADDISH YATOM for those of our friends and families who have died and been buried this last week; those in the period of Sh’loshim (30 days since burial); those who have died in the last year; and those whose Yahrzeits/Anyos occur at this time; as well as the victims of brutality, disease, COVID-19, natural disasters, war and violence – including those who died on the assault of the US Capitol on January 6.
This coming week, the 29th of Adar through the 6th of Nisan, we lovingly remember:
Lillian Leah Salomon
Mother of Barbara Jo Salomon
Mother of Elizabeth Bernstein
Temple Kol Hamidbar Memorial Board
Those victims of the Shoah (Holocaust) who died at this time of year.
“ZICHRONAM LIV’RACHAH” – MAY THEIR MEMORIES BE FOR BLESSING.
TORAH STUDY AND SHAZOOM
We will meet as usual at the regular times for Torah Study and Shazoom this evening, Friday, March 12, 2021.
Zoom continues updating its security and performance features. Making sure you have the latest version of Zoom, please join us online this evening:
Topic: Torah Study – Vayakhël-Pekudëi (triennial part) Ex 37:17-39:21
Time: Mar 12, 2021 06:00 PM Arizona
Shazoom – Erev Shabbat Service
Time: Mar 12, 2021 07:30 PM Arizona
To join the Torah Study and/or Shazoom click on the following link [you may need to copy it into your browser]: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/72510500854?pwd=Z3VQZWF4U1BBZytNYmh3aHFTWkFDZz09
Meeting ID: 725 1050 0854
Hint: The last character of the password is the number zero.
Shabbat Shalom – Buen Shabbat!
PS – Pesach is two short weeks away. Most Reform Jews observe Pesach for seven days, as in Israel, starting the evening of Saturday, March 27 and ending the evening of Saturday, April 3. Others observe eight days ending Sunday evening, April 4, 2021. At Temple Kol Hamidbar we will celebrate a community online 2nd Night Inclusion Seder led by Dr. Sam Caron, President, and Doug Annino, Lay Leader, on Sunday, March 28, 2021 at 6 PM. Please read Dr. Caron’s March 10 and 11, 2021 emails for details.