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Parashat Pekudei - 5774

My friends,

This Shabbat we read the last portion in the book of Exodus - Pekudei. This portion brings to an end the long descriptions and the many repetitions in the instructions related to the building of the Tabernacle - the Mishkan - the portable temple that will be used during the journey towards the Promised Land.

This portion describes how the gifts that were donated were used in this project, how each was made and how all the work has been completed. I would like to share with you a few important points from this Parasha.

(1) Moses, the teacher, the leader, the man whom G-d referred to as my 'trusted servant', gives a detailed accounting of what was collected and how it was spent. It is a most important lesson to leaders, no matter how loved or honorable they are in the eyes of their community. They must be accountable to the people who entrusted them with their gifts. The community's books have to be open and transparent to all, so that there is not a shadow of doubt that anyone took advantage of the people's trust.

(2) This portion describes how each item was made by Bezalel and his crew and presented to Moses. There is a clear parallel between the making and erection of the Tabernacle, and the story of Creation. In the story of creation it is stated how G-d is pleased with and blesses His creation. Moses is pleased with the work that was done and he blesses the people. The world is what G-d has created as the home for us His creatures, including the gift of Shabbat to make our existence in this universe sacred and meaningful. The Tabernacle is the home that we humans have created in this world for G-d as His dwelling place, to bring G-d and holiness into our lives.

(3) In Jewish history we have had three Temples - the Tabernacle, the First and the Second Temple:

The Tabernacle and the details of its construction which we conclude reading about in this week's Torah reading (which also concludes the Book of Exodus) has indeed served the Jewish people well. You can enjoy it whenever you attend services at a synagogue.

Come to Shul, your present Tabernacle and Temple, and derive some spirituality and Shabbat sacredness that will energize you for the days to come.

Shabbat Shalom,

Avram