Thursday, February 27, 2014

P'kudei

Sh'mot 38:21-40:38

This is the last of 5 parashot regarding the building of the tabernacle. It begins by listing the amounts of the precious metals used to build the tabernacle.

  • Gold - 1930 pounds
  • Silver - 6650 pounds
  • Bronze - 4680 pounds
They need the BIG trucks to move everything! But we see that this isn't all that the people brought. They brought so much that B'tzal'el had to have Moshe tell the people to stop bringing it. There was too much! Do we bring more than is required when YHVH calls us? Or do we complain about bringing the little that is required?

The next section describes the making of the priestly garments. It repeats the detailed description of the High Priest's garments. As we know when reading Torah, repetition implies significance. From this we can infer that those who are called to serve Him as priests are not to take the calling lightly, and are not to be taken lightly. Aharon's robes, breastplate, etc. contained gold and gems. It was very heavy. Therefore, his robes were a constant reminder that he carried a heavy burden for Israel.

We are told repeatedly that the people did exactly as YHVH had ordered Moshe. When we follow YHVH's commands as stated, the results are spectacular. YHVH's design plans created the tabernacle, man's design plans created the Roman coliseum. Let's compare the two. The coliseum is bigger and "grander". It was built to be permanent. It is a monument to pompous arrogance and is a place of death and depravity. The tabernacle, on the other hand, is more magnificent and moved with the people. It was an expression of our willingness to give of ourselves to YHVH. It was a place of Life and holiness. Which would you rather visit if given the choice?

Now let's compare two dwelling places of YHVH among the Israelites. The Tabernacle versus Solomon's temple. As I said before, the Tabernacle was YHVH's design and plan. YHVH desired to move with the people as they traveled. The Tabernacle was always in the center of the people wherever they were. It was built by willing artisans with materials donated as heart-felt gifts. Only materials willingly given were allowed in its construction. It was assembled by Moshe as YHVH insructed. Moshe blessed the people for the work they had done when construction was complete. YHVH's presence filled the Tabernacle per His desire. The temple was Solomon's design. It was a permanent structure in Israel. When the people were forced out of the land, the temple stayed behind. It was built with forced labor, not willing participants. There was no command from YHVH to build the temple. It was allowed because David wanted it and YHVH honored him. Solomon took credit for building the temple, but the work was outsourced to King Hiram of Tyre. His architects and builders did most of the work. While YHVH's presence did fill the temple, it was in respect for David's desire, not YHVH's.




Finally, we end the Torah portion with the cloud by day and fire by night. YHVH's presence descended to the Tabernacle and dwelt among His people. When the cloud of His presence moved, the people moved. If it stayed in place, the people stayed in place. The people of Israel literally followed YHVH daily. Do we?

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