How richly do Vayakhel and Pekude speak to me this week. So many things and ideas that I hold near to my heart are talked about.
It teaches us about community. About how working together helps to create it. How the work we do all week long divides us, and how Shabbat is our chance to come together again. It teaches us about giving. To give more than is needed. Generosity is good. (And it's okay to give heartily even if part of the motivation is concern with past behaviors.) It teaches us about the role of women. They are equal partners with men. All the misogynist overlay that may have found its way into the text cannot overcome the Torah's clear statements here in that regard.
It teaches us about the importance of details. How many of us rush through the detailed descriptions in the parasha? Why do details frighten and bore us so? And if we look deeper in the text, we discover that the power in the details is not just in the what, but the why of the details. Sure, we can just chalk it up to that old standby-ineffability-but that's sort of a cop-out. We could attempt to describe the rationale behind the minutiae of creating the tabernacle in archaeological terms. That's perhaps less of a cop out than ineffability, but it's still an attempt to explain without digging as deep as we can go. Dig deep, and try and determine why thus is so, and why this was done this way, et al, and whole new layers of meaning can open themselves to us.
The parasha teaches us the significance of Shabbat. It is our gift from Gd and also our gift to Gd. What a delightful synergy.
It teaches us to value the artist. For what would the mishkan have been without Betzalel's artistry? It teaches us to use our own talents - whatever they may be - in service to the community, and in service to Gd. Read the words of Shemot 36:1.
This last speaks to me most profoundly. Gd has blessed me with many useful skills and talents, and for this I am grateful. Using these talents towards the "sacred work" is what this week's portion compels me to do. Though in context the "sacred task" might seem to be only the construction of the tabernacle, I am certain that the implications are more far reaching. Tikkun Olam need not be an abstract concept, but a very practical and do-able one.
Parasha Pekude teaches us the importance of recording the work that we do, so that the true beauty can be know by the efforts of all who contributed. And finally it teaches us that when the work is done, and we have created our tabernacle, then perhaps Gd will come dwell within it and be with us.
Gd has granted all of us wisdom and understanding to know how to do all the work necessary for the "sacred work." This Shabbat, we can look inside ourselves and learn what skills Gd has blessed us with that we can use in Gd's service.
©2002 by Adrian A. Durlester
Vayakhel/Pekude 5758 & 5761 - Craftsman. Artisan. Artist.
Pekude 5670 - Pronouns
Vayakhel 5760 - The Lost Episodes: Too Much of a Good Thing
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