General Overview: The Parsha discusses the census of the Israelites, the washbasin of the Tabernacle, the anointing oils for the priests and kings, the incense offering, and the Sabbath. The Torah then relates the story of the Golden Calf, G‑d’s anger at the Jewish nation, Moshe successfully arguing for Divine forgiveness for the sin, the subsequent breaking of the tablets, and the giving of the second tablets.
Aliya Summary: G‑d commands Moshe to take a census of the Jewish adult male population by collecting an atonement offering of half a silver shekel from each individual. The collected silver was melted down, and was made into sockets for the beams of the Tabernacle. G‑d instructs Moshe to make a copper washstand for the Tabernacle. The priests would use this laver to wash their hands and feet before their service. G‑d tells Moshe the recipe for making holy “anointing oil.” This oil, which was prepared with various aromatic herbs and fine spices, was used to anoint and sanctify the Tabernacle, its vessels, and Aaron and his sons. The remainder of the oil was put aside, and was used to anoint kings and high priests of future generations. G‑d also gives Moshe the formula for the incense which was offered twice-daily in the Tabernacle. The duplication of the anointing oil or incense for personal use is prohibited. G‑d imbues Bezalel with wisdom, and appoints him to be the chief craftsman of the Tabernacle and its contents. G‑d appoints Oholiab as his assistant. This lengthy Aliya concludes with G‑d telling the Jewish people to observe the Shabbat, the eternal sign between Him and the Children of Israel.