Two Kinds of Community

Two Kinds of Community

Mar 25, 2006 By Matthew Berkowitz | Commentary | Vayak-hel

Community is the heart of the Jewish people. To nurture a sense of holiness within our synagogues, it is critical to work toward strengthening a vision of communal responsibility. This notion is emphasized in the opening of this week’s Torah reading, Parashat Va–yakhel: “Moses assembled the community of the children of Israel, saying to them, ‘These are the obligations that God commanded to do them'” (Exodus 35:1). Not only does the general opening of the reading focus on community, but more significantly, the very word with which the parashah begins, vayaqhel, contains the Hebrew root qof–hey–lamed (meaning “community”) — for this is not simply the act of assembling, but it is gathering together a community. What will be the nature of the community we build?

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A Holy Inventory

A Holy Inventory

Mar 20, 2004 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Pekudei | Vayak-hel | Shabbat Rosh Hodesh

In the ever-fertile imagination of the Rabbis there are no arid texts. The most prosaic can readily become the occasion for an insight of great consequence. By way of example, I will focus on a narrative fragment tucked away in the middle of the lists that make up the bulk of the final two parashot of Exodus. The lesson derived from it is one that has lost none of its moral force.

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Preparing Ourselves to Receive Shabbat

Preparing Ourselves to Receive Shabbat

Mar 20, 2009 By Eitan Fishbane | Commentary | Pekudei | Vayak-hel

“On six days work may be done, but on the seventh day you shall have a Sabbath of complete rest, holy to the Lord . . .”

So begins the speech of Moses to the Israelites in Parashat Va-yakhel. But the text almost immediately shifts to discuss the intricate details of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) and its construction at great length, neglecting any elaboration on the opening commandment. This move leaves the reader wondering why Shabbat was mentioned here at all! Indeed, this strange juxtaposition is remarkably similar to last week’s parashah (Ki Tissa). In that case, the Shabbat commandment is placed after remarks about the Mishkan—though there too its mention is brief and seemingly out of place.

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Inspiring Our Institutions

Inspiring Our Institutions

Mar 17, 2007 By Steven Brown | Commentary | Pekudei | Vayak-hel

The detailed description of the completion of the Mishkan in all its splendor can overwhelm us with a plethora of information, blinding us to the power and importance of this week’s double parashah concluding the book of Exodus.

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The Challenge of Finding Balance

The Challenge of Finding Balance

Mar 1, 2008 By David M. Ackerman | Commentary | Vayak-hel

If intricate descriptions of construction details capture your imagination, then Va-yakhel is your parashah!

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Consumption with Humility

Consumption with Humility

Mar 17, 2012 By Charlie Schwartz | Commentary | Text Study | Pekudei | Vayak-hel

“You are what you eat,” as the old adage goes—but according to this midrash, you are also what you build, or more precisely, you are how you build.

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Wisdom of the Heart

Wisdom of the Heart

Feb 19, 2014 By Matthew Berkowitz | Commentary | Vayak-hel

In many ways, Parashat Vayak-hel repeats the instruction of previous parashiyot.

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The Religious Significance of Our Relationships

The Religious Significance of Our Relationships

Feb 26, 2011 By Marc Wolf | Commentary | Vayak-hel

Among the many methods of explicating verses and devising halakhah, the Rabbis list s’michut parashiyot (connection of phrases). The essential idea is that proximity of biblical verses suggests a correlation of their greater subject matters. Or, in our common parlance: “Location, location, location.” This week, we have an example that illustrates the method.

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Of Leadership and Investment: A People Engage

Of Leadership and Investment: A People Engage

Mar 6, 2013 By Matthew Berkowitz | Commentary | Pekudei | Vayak-hel

Parashat Vayak-hel-Pekudei continues the building of the Tabernacle—detailing the materials, craftsmanship, appurtenances, and its completion.

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How Now, Brown Cow?

How Now, Brown Cow?

Mar 17, 2012 By Leonard A. Sharzer | Commentary | Pekudei | Vayak-hel | Shabbat Parah

I would like to review several components of the Red Heifer ritual that I find most challenging and ask two questions: (1) Is there any way to understand this arcane ritual that has resonance in modern times?; and (2) Why do we read this passage shortly before Pesah?

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