Parshiyot Vayakhel-Pekudei 5783

March 13, 2023

Click HERE  for an audio recording of this D’var Torah Where do we face in our holy space? A D’var Torah for Parshiyot Vayakhel-Pekudei By Rabbi Rob Scheinberg “Once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, “and what is the use of a book,” thought Alice, “without pictures or conversations?” — Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland Alice might have approved of the Talmud, which has conversations among the sages on every page. But she might have been disappointed that there are not very many pictures. There is, however, an evocative picture inspired by a verse from this week’s Torah portion, found in printed editions of the Babylonian Talmud in Rashbam’s commentary to Tractate Bava Batra 99a, that carries some relevance for us as we seek spiritual connection in holy spaces.   This week’s Torah portion of Vayakhel-Pekudei describes the construction of the Mishkan, the portable sanctuary that was used during the...

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Parshiyot Vayakhel-Pikudei

March 12, 2021

Click HERE for an audio recording of this D’var Torah A D’var Torah for Parshiyot Vayakhel-Pekudei By Rabbi Ariann Weitzman (’11) Parshiyot Vayakhel-Pekudei recount the building, but more importantly, the embellishment, of the Tabernacle in the wilderness, according to detailed instructions given in last week’s parashah. This lavish description of fabrics, stones, weaving, woodworking, and artisanship comes on the heels of the building and destruction of the Golden Calf. There are some commentators who read the Golden Calf and the Tabernacle as two potential ends to the same impulse: a desire to build a physical presence to represent the ineffable, and to create a home for worship and supplication. While the episode of the Golden Calf represented the worst possible process for building a site for communal worship, the Tabernacle represented the best. While the Golden Calf was constructed under the leadership of Aaron, who failed to either provide authority...

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Parashat Vayak’hel / P’kudei 5780

March 20, 2020

  A D’var Torah for Parashat Vayak’hel P’kudei By Rabbi Bruce Alpert (’11)What does it mean to have a “willing heart?” The phrase is used three times in the opening verses of this week’s parashah, Vayak’hel/P’kudei (Exodus 35:5, 22, and 29). It likewise appears in Parashat Terumah, Exodus 25:2. In each instance the circumstances are the same; it describes the voluntary donations of precious materials (gold, silver, jewels, rare fabrics) used for the construction of the Mishkan – God’s dwelling place among the Israelite tribes. These donations are all made by those whose heart moves them to do so, and they are made in such profusion that Moses ultimately must command the Israelites to stop (Exodus 36:6). But we only realize how evocative is the phrase “willing heart” when we consider the source of these gifts. These materials were acquired by the Israelites as they left Egypt, stripping it of its precious objects as they...

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March 8, 2018 – Parashat VaYakhel-Pekudei, 5778

March 8, 2018

You Gotta Have Heart…or Do You? A D’var Torah for VaYakhel-Pekudei by Rabbi Rena H. Kieval, ’06 The great communal building project of the mishkan, the wilderness tabernacle, finally gets underway in this week’s double Torah portion, and the participants who craft, create and assemble it are reportedly full of heart.   The Hebrew word for heart –lev – and its variants libo, libam, and so on, are repeated at least a dozen times.  We read of the generous of heart – nedivei lev (Ex. 35:5, 35:22), who donate their jewels and fine fabrics for the structure; the wise of heart – hokhmei lev (Ex. 35:10, 35:25), who are skilled and able to share their artistic talents, and their building and organizational abilities.  We read too of the nesi’ei lev (Ex. 35:21, 35:26) those with uplifted hearts, or perhaps, those whose hearts have lifted them up to participate.  The hearts of...

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Parashat Vayakhel-Pekudei

March 22, 2017

by Cantor Sandy Horowitz Ancestors. We begin praying the Amidah by invoking them: as we acknowledge the presence of God, we do so by stating that this is also the God of our patriarchs. In recent times, more liberal streams of Judaism added the matriarchs; as a woman it is comforting to read the names of Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah alongside (well actually, following) Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It can be an equally meaningful though different experience to pray from a traditional siddur in which our maternal ancestors have not been added, this too. I still recite their names after reading the printed names of the patriarchs, as a conscious acknowledgement of their textual invisibility.  It is an opportunity as well to reflect on the broader notion of inclusion and exclusion. Ancestors. Parashat Vayakhel-Pekudei provides a rare opportunity to acknowledge the entire community of ancient Israelite women, our collective female...

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