Thursday, March 3, 2016

Vayakhel "and he assembled"


Shemot 35:1- 38:20

 The joy and willingness to hear and obey must have a mutual agreement within two or more parties. The first verse, “And Moses assembled all the congregation of the sons of Israel…” Exo 35:1 is where this portion takes its name called Vayakhel, which means “and he assembled”. As we’ll see later in this portion that agreement in unity can accomplish a lot of good things in building God’s kingdom!

 A recurrence of Sabbath regulations is one of the first teachings that we'll see in the next verse and one would have to ask why, why so many times does Hashem have to tell the Israelites about Shabbat. It’s very important to see that a lot of things in the Torah are arranged in a particular way and that nothing set in the Torah is superfluous. We know that in last week’s portion the gross sin of the golden calf “eggel hazahav” has happen and that the covenant has been broken. After Moses has interceded for the people and the covenant has been renewed, we see here that again instructions for Shabbat are given,. The flow of events is leading us to the preparation of the building of the Mishkan. A picture of time and space is clearly painted here and it all has to do with sanctity of the presence of Hashem.

 From the beginning of time Hashem has associated His presence with the Shabbat that we’re commanded to keep. It could be for this reason that in the observant Jewish community Shabbat is known as “A piece of heaven” that one can experience here on earth at least that is the aim in observing Shabbat correctly. If we could just grasp this concept and apply it on our everyday life and see the transforming power of Hashem in our life’s!  I believe that for this reason we see that the regulations of Shabbat are repeated right before we have the preparations of the building of the Mishkan. Just like in the Garden of Eden there was perfection in the presence of Hashem, there was Shabbat as well. The perfect blend of time and space equaling sanctity is seen in these two events.

 The Jewish sages of old teach us that: Shabbat, like the Mishkan, is not an isolated day of spirituality, distinct and separate from the other days of the week. Rather, the rest of the week revolves around Shabbat, and Shabbat elevates and infuses the other days with its kedushah.

This is the message of both Shabbat and the Mishkan: Kedushah is not isolated, but woven into the fabric of everyday life. A focal point for kedushah — in time and in place – -is indeed essential, in order to experience unadulterated kedushah. Nonetheless, that source of kedushah must enrich and elevate all of life, so that the Shechinah may reside “betocham” — among us.

The dwelling of Hashem’s Shechinah is both in Shabbat and the Mishkan, our mater Rabbi Yeshua teaches us that if we abide in him then HE abides in us, so that we can bear fruit and how else to we stay close to Hashen, but by keeping His mitzvot’s in our hearts every day, especially those of Shabbat.  And just like the Israelites give us the example of them giving to the building of the Mishkan in a cheerful attitude as stated in verse 5 “ Take from among you a contribution to the Lord. Whoever is of a generous heart, let him bring the Lord's contribution……”We’re to do the same for the building of Hashem’s kingdom that we may be in unity to have a location for Hashem to dwell here in us.

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