• Daily Aliya for Vayakhel/Pekudei, Rishon (1st Aliya)

    General Overview: In this week’s portion, Vayakhel-Pekudei, Moshe gathers the Jews and relays to them all the details regarding the construction of the Tabernacle, its vessels, and the priestly garments. The actual construction and assembly is also described. This portion repeats many of the details described in the portions of Terumah and Tetzaveh, wherein G‑d instructed Moshe regarding the assembly of all these objects. The Tabernacle is erected, and G‑d’s presence dwells therein.

    First Aliya: On the day after Moshe descended from Mount Sinai with the Second Tablets, after successfully securing atonement for the sin of the Golden Calf, he gathered all the Jewish people. The primary purpose of this assembly was to inform the Jews of G‑d’s desire for a Sanctuary to be constructed. He began, however, with a brief reminder regarding the observance of the Shabbat. This was followed by a description of the materials needed to construct the Tabernacle, and a list of the vessels, Tabernacle parts, and priestly garments which were to be produced. The men and women came forward and generously donated all the materials which Moshe enumerated.

  • Daily Aliya for Vayakhel, Shvii (7th Aliya)

    Aliya Summary: The Tabernacle’s construction is capped off with the construction of the Outer Altar, the copper wash stand, the mesh curtains which surrounded the Tabernacle courtyard, and the beams and hooks which anchored them.

    The final vessel described is the Washing Basin and its Stand. It was made of copper. Tradition tells us that the copper came from the mirrors of the Israelite women. At first, Moshe did not want to accept them because of the vanity associated with mirrors. G-d, however, told Moshe how very precious this gift was in His eyes, because they reminded Him (so to speak) of the role Jewish women played in the redemption of the people from Egypt.

  • Daily Aliya for Vayakhel, Shishi (6th Aliya)

    Aliya Summary: This Aliya describes the construction of the Menora (With the exception of the oil cups, everything else – the branches, decorative orbs, cups, flowers – was hammered from one piece of gold) and the Incense Altar. The anointing oil and the incense are also prepared.

    What’s the significance of having it made of one piece of gold? Perhaps it’s to accentuate the point that it’s not the top of the branch that is most important because it holds the oil, and it’s not the bottom of the base that’s most important because it keep the Menora standing, but every piece is equally important, as is the case with every Jew and every member of society. Everyone has their roles, but we’re all one big piece of gold.

  • Daily Aliya for Vayakhel, Chamishi (5th Aliya)

    Aliya Summary: The construction continued. In this Aliya, the craftspeople construct the Tabernacle wall panels, their sockets, the curtains which covered the entrance to the sanctuary and which separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the sanctuary, the Ark, and the Showbread Table.

    Half of this Aliya describes what Bezlalel was to do, and the second half describes Betzalel actually doing what he was supposed to do. Why not just say that he did was he was instructed? Rash says that because he put his heart into it, the Torah describes everything he did. This description isn’t for his benefit, but for us to realize that our thoughtful efforts are recognized.

  • Dvar for Vayakhel (Exodus 35:1-38:20)

    In Parshat Vayakhel, it describes that the frame of the Tabernacle was constructed of “shittim wood, standing.” The talmud offers several explanations of this phrase. The first and simplest is that it refers to the orientation of the planks used in the construction; they should be vertical rather than horizontal. Another interpretation is that “standing” means that they are standing to this very day – the Tabernacle has been hidden away, but has not been destroyed. R’ Baruch Simon cites a number of sources who contrast this to the Temple, which was burned to the ground. Why will the Tabernacle stand forever while the Temple has been destroyed?
    He explains that the Temple was largely constructed by the hired labor of Tyrean craftsmen who were working for money, not for the sake of the task itself. Their hearts weren’t truly in it. However, the Tabernacle was built by Jews themselves, out of commitment and love of G-d. Our accomplishments are most likely to endure when they are done in this fashion, with dedication and for their own sake.

  • Daily Aliya for Vayakhel, Revii (4th Aliya)

    Aliya Summary: When G-d commanded Moshe about the Mishkan, He first commanded the making of the Aron, Shulchan, and Menora. Then, the roofing layers – the Mishkan, the Ohel, and the Orot. Only then were the wall boards and foundation sockets brought into the picture. In the carrying out of the commands, a more “practical” plan was followed. The structure and then the furnishings. But how can Moshe and Bezalel deviate from the commands of G-d? You can’t just do whatever you want in this kind of thing.

    Commentaries say that Moshe and Bezalel requested and received permission from G-d to take the more human, practical approach. In this Aliya, the three layers of ceiling are presented. Note that the first layer was a beautiful, multicolored weave and the fasteners were gold. Over that came the more practical, less attractive, less complicated, weather-resistant Ohel of goat hair. This layer was not seen from inside the Mishkan, and might not have been seen from the outside either, according to the opinion that the Tachash and Red-dyed sheep skin covering (which was also attractive) was not just on top.

  • Daily Aliya for Vayakhel, Shlishi (3rd Aliya)

    Aliya Summary: Moshe announces G‑d’s choice of Bezalel and Oholiav to serve as foremen of the Tabernacle construction project, and he transfers to them all the donated materials. The people, however, continued donating generously, until the craftspeople report to Moshe that they have more than enough materials to complete their task, causing Moshe to issue a proclamation requesting everyone to cease donating materials.

    Heard from Rabbi Menachem Rottenberg, the then exec. dir. of Yeshiva of Central Queens: Look at the greatness of Bezalel (and his crew), who were able to work with the gold, silver, and copper, as well as with stone and wood. As gold craftsmen, it wasn’t beneath them to work with stone and wood, as well.

  • Daily Aliya for Vayakhel, Sheni (2nd Aliya)

    Aliya Summary: Many people are moved to give generously in response to Moshe’s appeal. Men and women all give (there are different interpretations as to what the wording in the pasuk indicates). In addition to donations, men, and more so women, donated their talents in weaving, dyeing, woodwork, metalwork, etc. Repeated reference is made to the hearts of the people being in what they were doing. This was a genuine positive response to G-d’s and Moshe’s call to build the Mishkan. The leaders of the Tribes supplied the precious stones for the shoulder-pieces of the Eifod and for the Choshen of the Kohen Gadol, and spices and oil for the Incense and the Anointing oil.

    Rashi quotes R’ Natan who explain why the leaders of the tribes took the initiative on the occasion of the dedication of the Mishkan. He says that they learned their lesson from this original collection of materials. The leaders decided to wait until the people finished giving, and then they would give what was missing. It turned out that there was almost nothing left to give because the people had given so generously.

  • Daily Aliya for Vayakhel, Rishon (1st Aliya)

    General Overview: In this week’s Parsha, Vayakhel, Moshe gathers the Jews and relays to them all the details regarding the construction of the Tabernacle and its vessels. The actual construction is also described. This Parsha repeats many of the details described in the portion of Terumah, wherein G‑d instructed Moshe how the Tabernacle and its vessels were to be constructed.

    Aliya Summary: On the day after Moshe descended from Mount Sinai with the Second Tablets, after successfully securing atonement for the sin of the Golden Calf, he gathered all the Jewish people. The primary purpose of this assembly was to inform the Jews of G‑d’s desire for a Sanctuary to be constructed. He began, however, with a brief reminder regarding the observance of the Shabbat. This was followed by a description of the materials needed to construct the Tabernacle, and a list of the vessels, Tabernacle parts, and priestly garments which were to be produced.

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