Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Sh'mot / Exodus 35:1 - 40:38

Parashot 22 and 23
Vayak’hel (He assembled) and P’kudei (Accounts)
Sh’mot (Exodus) 35:1 – 40:38

            The final portion of this week’s reading can be found in the totality of chapter 40.  The time has arrived for the raising of the tabernacle.  Each of the individual pieces of the mishkan have been made, and Moses is now to raise the structure to its full glory.
            The date of its raising is to be the first day of the first month, and this is the beginning of the second year since the Exodus.  As I read it, it seems as if Moshe erects the outer posts and curtains first, ostensibly to give some privacy to the erection of the complete interior of the mishkan. 
            Moses had been instructed by the Lord that after the raising up of the outer perimeter, Moses is to begin putting the interior in order.  Where to begin?  Well, not to worry because the Almighty had already presented Moshe with the details.  The entire interior is to be set in place beginning at the site of what will soon be known as the Holy of Holies, then proceeding to the Holy Place, followed by the setting of the courtyard in order, and finally to place the screen at the entrance of the courtyard.  (See 40:1 – 8)
            The next step was to be the anointing and consecration of the tabernacle and everything in it (40:9 – 11); following the anointing and consecration Moses was to bring his older brother and his nephews for their own consecrations and anointings (40:12 – 15).
            All of these directives were done by Moses as indicated in 40:16.  Verses 17 through 33 are told from the standpoint of telling us that Moses did all these deeds according to the directives of the early part of the chapter.
            B’tzal’el the son of Uri, Oholi’av the son of Achisamakh, and Moses ben Amram have now completed every task they were given to do regarding the construction and erection of the tabernacle.  What’s next?  The Glory of the Lord covers the tent of meeting and fills the tabernacle.  HaShem is present, but no one else is present in the new structure.  No one, even Moses, is able to enter the tabernacle.  From this point on, it is the cloud, the Glory of the Lord lets the people know when to move out and when to remain encamped.
            What is most interesting to me at this point is that the erection took place on the first day of the first month, and as we will read next week, there will be an eight day period for the consecrations and anointings of Levi and his sons.  If I figure correctly, this whole process will be completed on the ninth day of the first month – just in time for the choosing of the lambs on the tenth, four days before the anniversary of the first Pesach (Passover), which occurred in Egypt. 
            Much is to be remembered, and much has happened in the previous year.  For all of it, the Lord certainly deserves all the glory and the honor, bless His holy name.

            As we complete the book of Sh’mot, we say, “Hazak, hazak, v’nit’chazek!”  Be strong, be strong, and let us be strengthened!

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