The Call to Find a Mentor and to Mentor Others

The Call to Find a Mentor and to Mentor Others

Mar 11, 2016 By Mark Young | Commentary | Pekudei

In parashat Pekudei, the Israelites are on a journey to a new life, having escaped the Egyptians, experienced the revelation at Sinai, and completed the building of the Tabernacle. They are now in the wilderness, sometimes unclear about their direction, sometimes filled with fear, and in need of guidance. However, they had mentors to guide them. They had the cloud that indicated the Presence of God, and they had Moses on their side.

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Nediv Lev

Nediv Lev

Mar 13, 2015 By Michael R. Boino | Commentary | Pekudei | Vayak-hel

We often think of love as something comfortable, something comforting. The truth is, it can be the exact opposite. True, unbounded love from another source can cause us to confront parts of ourselves with which we are uncomfortable: our vulnerability, our self image, our passive role as the recipient of care rather than as a caregiver.

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Creating I-Thou Moments That Strengthen Relationships, and Communities

Creating I-Thou Moments That Strengthen Relationships, and Communities

Mar 18, 2016 By Stephanie Ruskay | Commentary | Pekudei

Semikhah, ordaining of clergy, is on my mind these days as we move closer to my first JTS ordination as an associate dean. No longer the person receiving semikhah, this time I am privileged to help ordain new clergy.

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Taming the Beast of Extremism

Taming the Beast of Extremism

Mar 12, 1994 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Pekudei | Purim | Shabbat Hahodesh

Bred in the hothouse of militant Orthodox Zionism, Dr. Baruch Goldstein knew the sacred texts of Judaism. His premeditated murder of dozens of Palestinian men kneeling in prayer in the Hebron mosque on the Friday of Purim was clearly triggered by the scriptural readings of the festival. On the sabbath before, Shabbat Zakhor, he had heard in the synagogue once again the ancient injunction never to forget what Amalek did to Israel in the wilderness (Deut. 25:17-19). The haftarah for the day (I Sam. 15) vividly recalls the failure of Saul, Israel’s first king, to follow up his victory over Amalek with total destruction. His indecision in the face of popular demand for the spoils of war cost him God’s confidence and eventually his throne. The imprecation of the prophet Samuel as he belatedly executed Agag, Amalek’s captured king, must have continued to ring in Goldstein’s ear: “As your sword has bereaved women, so shall your mother be bereaved among women (15:33).”

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A New Ark of the Covenant

A New Ark of the Covenant

Mar 4, 1995 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Pekudei

The heart of Israel’s ornate Tabernacle in the wilderness was the Ark of the Covenant. From above the extended wings of the two cherubim affixed on top of the Ark, God’s voice would emanate to address Moses. It constituted the holiest spot in the Tabernacle, and was approached by the High Priest but once a year on Yom Kippur. Moreover, the Ark was the first part of the sanctuary that Moses was instructed to build. After inviting Israel to make “Me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them (Exodus 25:8),” God immediately continues, “They shall make an ark of acacia wood… (Exodus 25:10).”

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A Nation Comes Together

A Nation Comes Together

Mar 20, 2004 By Lewis Warshauer | Commentary | Pekudei | Vayak-hel

The Torah is the epic of the founding of the Israelite nation. The Book of Genesis charts the development of the Abraham-Isaac-Jacob family into a small clan; the Book of Exodus shows the development of that clan into a nation. At the end of Genesis, Jacob calls to his sons together to hear his final words:

Come together and hearken, O sons of Jacob
Hearken, O sons of Israel (Genesis 49:2)

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From Behind a Cloud

From Behind a Cloud

Mar 9, 2002 By Lewis Warshauer | Commentary | Pekudei | Vayak-hel | Purim

The Book of Exodus ends on a note of triumph. The liberation from Egypt was followed by the giving of Torah and the building and dedication of the Tabernacle. God forgives the Israelites for their sin with the golden calf — and, in the closing lines of the book, God’s presence, in the form of a cloud, comes to rest upon the Tabernacle. Nahmanides, in his closing comment on this, the second book of the Torah, gives it the title: the book of redemption.

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One Signal, Many Prophets

One Signal, Many Prophets

Mar 2, 2002 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Pekudei | Vayak-hel

This week’s double parashah brings the book of Exodus to a triumphant close. No sooner is the Tabernacle erected (on the first of Nisan, the start of a new year), than it is graced by God’s presence. “When Moses had finished the work, the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting and the Presence of the Lord filled the Tabernacle. Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting, because the cloud had settled upon it and the Presence of the Lord filled the Tabernacle” (40:33-35). The repetition serves to highlight the fact that God had taken up residence in the sanctuary to which all of Israel had contributed. God’s favor was visibly certifiable. The nation would not journey unaccompanied.

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