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

    Aliya Summary: The Tabernacle’s construction is capped off with the construction of the Outer Altar, the copper wash basin, the mesh curtains which surrounded the Tabernacle courtyard, and the beams and hooks which anchored them. The Torah then gives an exact accounting of the amounts of gold, silver and copper donated for the construction of the Tabernacle, as well as the vessels and building materials constructed with these supplies.

    We are taught from the fact that Moshe gave a voluntary accounting of the materials he collected, that a person in the position of collecting monies for the community must conduct themselves in such a way that they will always be above suspicion. Even if the individual is completely trustworthy, they should take measures to avoid the possibility of appearing improper. The Talmud tells us that the family of Kohanim that was in charge of compounding the Ketoret (incense) did not allow its women to use perfume, lest someone suspect them of taking from the sacred ingredients of the Ketoret. Similarly, the bakers of the Lechem HaPanim did not eat fine bread, so that no one should even get an idea that they were taking the special flour of the Mikdash for their own use.

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

    Aliya Summary: This Aliya describes the construction of the menorah (candelabra) and the Incense Altar. The anointing oil and the incense are also prepared.

    One common aspect of both of these items is that they emit their “influence” to all those around them, without prejudice, providing light and a sweet smell to all near them. It’s meant to be a model for our behavior.

  • Daily Aliya for Vayakhel/Pekudei, Sheni (2nd 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. The craftspeople began their work. The tapestries which covered the Tabernacle were assembled, and 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.

    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.

  • 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 Pekudei, Shvii (7th Aliya)

    Aliya Summary: Moshe completed the proper placement of the Tabernacle vessels. When Moshe finished this task a Cloud of Glory and the Divine Presence filled the Tabernacle. This cloud also served as the Jews’ guide throughout their desert sojourn: when the cloud lifted, the people would travel, following the cloud until it rested, where they would set up camp until the cloud would lift again.

    Rashi says that on the 8th day of the dedication of the Mishkan, Moshe and Aharon were on equal status. But only on that day. After that, Moshe is “only” a Levi, and Aharon takes over the reins. It is said that Moshe would have been the Kohen Gadol, except for the way he spoke to G-d at the Burning Bush. It was then that G-d brought Aharon to Moshe, so to speak, to share the responsibilities and privileges of leadership.

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

    Aliya Summary: And it came to pass that on the first day of Nissan in the year out of Egypt, the Mishkan was completed. That is a bit less than a year out of Egypt.

    In this Aliya, the Torah spells out the step-by-step procedures of finally carrying out the commands of Parshiyot Teruma, Tetzaveh, beginning of Pekudei, all of Vayakhel. Sort of the “GO” mark for everything they’ve prepared to do.

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

    Aliya Summary: G‑d instructed Moshe to erect the Tabernacle on the first of Nissan. G‑d also instructed Moshe to place all the Tabernacle’s vessels in their proper places, and to anoint all of the items with the anointing oil, thus sanctifying them. Moshe is also directed to dress Aaron and his sons in the priestly garments, and to anoint them, too.

    Note that Aaron’s sons were also anointed. Regular kohanim are not; they were exceptions. It gave them a status of Kohen Gadol. That’s why Elazar and Itamar were not able to tend to the bodies of their brothers Nadav and Avihu and cousins were called in to take care of things. Aaron’s sons needed to be anointed, because they weren’t kohanim by birth.

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

    Aliya Summary: The craftspeople brought their finished products to Moshe. Moshe saw that all the work had been done exactly to G‑d’s specifications, and he blessed the workers. The Torah once again enumerates all of the components of the Mishkan. And repeats over and over again that the People did everything that G-d had commanded Moshe.

    After all the issues the Jews had with the Golden Calf, repeating eighteen times that the Jews did as they were instructed is the positive reinforcement we need/needed. Years ago I read that the typical child hears 300 negative reinforcements (i.e. “don’t touch that”) for every one positive. Consider this Aliya our encouragement to break that habit and reinforce positivity around us.

  • Dvar for Pekudei (Exodus 38:21-40:38)

    Parshat Pekudei, relates a very interesting exchange between Moshe and Betzalel, who built all the utensils for serving G-d in the desert. When Moshe told Betzalel to build the utensils before the actual housing (Mishkan) for them, Betzalel uncharacteristically spoke up, claiming that you couldn’t have the tools without first building the house because you’d have nowhere to put them. Moshe thought about it, agreed, and praised Betzalel for his insight. This seems very odd, being that Moshe got his orders from G-d, and there was never a valid reason to deviate until now. Why did Moshe suddenly change the way it was to be done?

    As Rashi helps us understand, Betzalel’s reasoning had a more global meaning: Jews can’t just perform the actions (Mitzvot) that are required, without first having a ‘home’ for them. To some that home is a real home where they can share the learning and performance of Torah with their families. To others that home lies within their hearts, as they struggle to be Jews in an environment that’s not as supportive. But each of us has to perform Mitzvot and store them within our own “Mishkan” (housing). The point is not to just perform G-d’s commandments and hope that one day we’ll be inspired to grow from them, but to always have in mind that our goal is to realize their value. To appreciate and learn of the beauty of the Torah is to realize that we’ve always had a home for it in our hearts.

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

    Aliya Summary: The rest of the priestly garments were completed: The high priest’s me’il (blue robe adorned with golden bells and cloth “pomegranates”) and tzitz (a golden band worn on the forehead, which was engraved with the words “Holy to G‑d”); and the four garments worn by both the high priest and the regular priests: tunics, turbans, sashes and pants. With this, the construction of the Tabernacle and all its vessels and accoutrement were finished.

    Talmud Yerushalmi notes that the phrase, “as G-d had commanded Moshe” appears 18 times in P’kudei. Correspondingly, we have 18 brachot in our weekday Amida – strengthening the connection between Service in the Mikdash and Davening is that davening (praying) is a replacement for the service done in the Mikdash.

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