Monday, March 12, 2007

Summary - Vayakhel/Pekudei


Moshe assembles the Children of Israel, reviews with them the laws of Shabbat, then instructs them in the building of the Tabernacle. Each person brings whatever their heart motivates them to bring. The women bring precious jewels and spun wool and linen. The men bring silver, copper, wood and cloth. The princes of each tribe bring the stones for the High Priest's breastplate and shoulder pads, and spices and oil.
Betzalel is designated by G-d as master craftsman and Oholiav as his assistant. Moshe summons them, and others with the wisdom and insight to build G-d's Sanctuary. The people continue to bring gifts every day, until they have more than enough materials. Moshe commands the people to stop bringing gifts.
The Torah lists the items made for the Tabernacle, starting with the curtains, the cover, the planks, the partitions and the screen. They the vessels; the Ark, the Cover, the Table, and the Menorah. The two altars - the Incense Altar out of gold and the Burnt Offering Altar from copper. A special copper wash basin is constructed for the Cohanim to wash their hands and feet. Lastly, the courtyard is made by surrounding the area with lace hangings with an embroidered screen at the entrance.


Pikudei begins with the accountings (pikudim) of the materials for the Tabernacle. It lists which materials, and how much of them, were used. It also explains how the priestly garments are made: the ephod, the breastplate, the robe, the headplate, the tunics, the turban, the breeches, the hats and the belt.
The Tabernacle is completed and brought to Moshe. He sees that all the work has been done as G-d commanded, and blesses the workers. G-d gives Moshe instructions how to erect the Tabernacle. On the first of Nissan, in the second year after leaving Egypt, the Tabernacle is erected by Moshe.
After Moshe has placed all the items in the Tabernacle as commanded by G-d, the Cloud of Glory comes to rest upon it. When the Jews are encamped, the cloud remains there by day, and becomes a pillar of fire by night. When the cloud rises from the Tabernacle, it is a sign for the Children of Israel to continue their travels.

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