Vayakhel – Pekudei: Assembling and Accounting

by Avatar of Swerdlow Swerdlow on Mar 19 - 09:03 pm UTC

Pekudei

Vayakhel – Pekudei – Assembling and Accounting

The weekly Torah portion is more than a story. It is a coded text with a specific energy and wisdom that can be personally applied to improve our lives each and every week.

Let’s Try Again -This week’s portion is a double portion where we read Vayakhel and Pekudei together. Interestingly, they are almost identical in content to the portions we read just a few weeks ago – Terumah and Tetzaveh. Vayakhel discusses the construction of the Tabernacle previously described in Terumah, while Pekudei discusses the vestments of the high priest and other details previously described in Tetzaveh. Since the Torah is perfect, and there would not have redundant text due to a mere oversight, there is a deeper meaning to be found within this repetition. Based on the sequence of readings, we see that these portions repeat after being separated by the portion of Ki Tisa which featured the Sin of the Golden Calf. The message to us is that although the Israelites were directed to construct the Tabernacle and vestments previously in the Torah, they needed to re-hear and go through the process again after the Sin of the Golden Calf. In order to make sure the consciousness of the people was pure and correct when they built the Tabernacle, the Israelites needed to make this connection after atoning for the sin and following Moses’ delivery of the second set of Tablets as discussed last week in Ki Tisa. The Zohar goes further and suggests that the first time Moses provided direction and asked for contributions to build the Tabernacle, he asked the entire nation of 3 million people in the desert. This second time he only asked the 600,000 Israelites. The smaller group did not include the Erev Rav – a group of people (mixed multitude of Egyptians) with negative consciousness and the power of having hatred for no reason. This second time around, the Erev Rav and the associated consciousness was separated from the others, allowing for a higher level of consciousness to be injected into the building of the Tabernacle. Through this we learn the importance of surrounding ourselves with positive people and positive energy in order to avoid temptation and negativity that may prevent us from becoming our highest selves. The same way the Israelites were provided a second opportunity to build the Tabernacle, when we fall in our day-to-day lives, we are often provided with similar opportunities to exercise our free will and to be proactive in order to achieve a better result.

Giving from the Heart – We read both in Vayakhel and the similar portion of Terumah, that when the people were asked to give for the construction of the Tabernacle, it was to be “from the heart”. In Terumah it says “from each man whose heart prompts him to give” and in Vayakhel it says “everyone who was willing and whose heart moved him”. We learn here the important lesson that when someone gives from the heart, it is without ego or calculation associated with the mind. Only when we give freely with a generous heart do we receive the spiritual benefit from giving or tithing. When we are conscious that our sharing brings blessings to both the giver and the recipient, we activate the power of blessing and protection. Conversely, the Zohar states that when we give from empty-handed consciousness or in vain, it is as if we never gave at all and the spirit of holiness is not drawn down into our lives.

A Beginning in the End – We conclude the reading of the Book of Exodus this week when we complete Vayakhel – Pekudei. At the end of the portion we read “On the first day of the first month in the second year, the Tabernacle was erected.” We see how the first home for G-d to dwell in the physical realm is completed and how the “glory of G-d filled the Tabernacle”. This occurs at the same time we conclude Exodus, the story of the Israelite’s escape from bondage in Egypt and their travels to Mt. Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments. We learn from this that there is always a beginning in an end. Every closed door leads to another door and every ending is also a new beginning. It is interesting to note that when we complete any of the Five Books of the Torah we say “Chazak, Chazak, V’Nitchazek (be strong, be strong, and may we be strengthened). The numerical value of the word Chazak is 115, so when said 3 times, we get 345, the same numerical value as Mem Hey Shin – one the the 72 Names of G-d used for healing and the same numerical value as the name Moshe. So while we are concluding the book, seemingly coming to an end, we are also connecting to the energy of healing and leadership for a successful new beginning.

This week’s double portion of Vayakhel – Pedukei completes the Book of Exodus, the 2nd Book of the 5 Books of Moses. We learn that we must always have the proper consciousness when taking on important tasks – like building the Tabernacle. Thankfully when we fall, or fail in our efforts, we often get presented with another opportunity to make it right. We also learn that there is always continuity, even in what appears to be an ending and that we should always look for the seed or new beginning at any conclusion.

Have a great week!

 

Resources and Credits

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Gutnick Edition Chumash with Rashi’s commentary, Targum Onkelos, and commentary anthologized from Classic Rabbinic Texts and the works of the Lubavitcher Rebbe
Apples from the Orchard – Gleanings from the Mystical Teachings of Rabbi Yitzchak Luria on the Weekly Torah Portion
Kabbalistic Bible, Edited by Yehuda Berg – Kabbalah Centre International, Inc
Chabad.org
LiveKabbalah.org
Other online written and video content that discusses and shares Kabbalistic Wisdom

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Richard Swerdlow

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