January 28, 2020 |

Parshat Pekudei: Walkthrough

Loyalty to the literal text, with a modern voice [All editorializing in brackets]

[This is largely a recapping of Parshat Tetzaveh, again with repetitive details omitted here. Interestingly, as in Vayakhel last week, it starts with some new material, and then settles into the itemizations. This time, however, differently from Vayakhel, note the plural “they made”, as well as the consistent “as God had commanded Moses.” The rhythm is reminiscent of the first chapter of Bereshit.]

Let’s take stock of what went into the Tabernacle, as assembled by Moses, with Aaron’s son Itamar’s help, as led by Bezalel and Oholiav:

Gold: 29 “kikar” and 730 shekels [unit of weight].
Silver: 100 kikar and 1775 shekels

(This came from the ½ shekel that each of the 630,550 Israelites over the age of 20 gave. For the silver, each kikar covered one socket, of which there were 100, and the 1775 shekels covered the hooks for the columns.)

Bronze: 70 kikar and 2400 shekels

(This was used for the sockets at the entrance to the tent, the bronze altar, and the various other bronze components of the sanctuary.)

Then they took all the fancy materials and used them to make the clothes that Aaron would use during his service.

They made the APRON […] , as God had commanded Moses.

They made the PRECIOUS STONES […], as God had commanded Moses.

They made the BREASTPLATE […], as God had commanded Moses.

They made the ROBE […], as God had commanded Moses.

They made the COAT […], as God had commanded Moses.

And thus was all the work on the Tabernacle completed. The Israelites did exactly as God had commanded Moses, to the last detail.

They brought the Tabernacle to Moses, along with the tent and all its accouterments [full list provided here]. Everything that God commanded Moses the Israelites did, every bit of it. Moses saw all the work, and hey, they did it just like God had commanded, that’s how they did it. And Moses blessed them.

God spoke to Moses: On New Years Day, set up the Tabernacle, the Appointed Tent. Put the ARK OF THE COVENANT there, and cover it with the CURTAIN. Then bring in the TABLE and set it up, followed by the MENORAH, which you should light.

Then set up the gold incense altar in front of the Ark of the Covenant, and put up the front screen of the Tabernacle.

Then set up the SACRIFICIAL ALTAR in front of the entrance to the Tabernacle.

Then set up the SINK between the Tent and the altar, and put water in it. Then set up the COURTYARD, including the screen covering its entrance.

Finally, take the special anointing oil and anoint everything in order to sanctify all the components of the Tabernacle.

Then, go get Aaron and his sons, bring them to the entrance of the Tabernacle, wash them off, get them dressed with the holy clothes, and sanctify him by anointing him with oil.

Then take his sons and do the same, as an eternal priesthood.

Moses did just what God had commanded, exactly that.

And so it was, on New Years Day of the second year, the Tabernacle was erected. Moses assembled it himself, standing up the columns, putting the hooks in the rings, and spreading out the tent on top of the tabernacle, and then the covering of the tent on top of that, as God had commanded Moses.

Then he put the [tablets of the] covenant in the Ark, attached the poles, and put on the cover. He brought the Ark into the tabernacle and covered it with the curtain, as God had commanded Moses.

Then he set up the table, as God had commanded Moses.

He set up the menorah, as God had commanded Moses.

He set up the gold altar and offered incense, as God had commanded Moses.

He added the screen at the entrance, and then the sacrificial altar, where he offered the morning and afternoon sacrifice, as God had commanded Moses.

He set up the sink and added water. And there Moses, Aaron, and his sons washed their hands and feet. In fact, whenever they would come near the altar they would wash, as God had commanded Moses.

He finally set up the courtyard, and he put up the screen covering the entrance, and with that, Moses finished the work. [See Bereshit: “God finished the work on the seventh day”, almost the same language].

The cloud covered the Tent, and God’s presence filled the Tabernacle, to the point where there wasn’t even room for Moses.

And when the cloud rose from the Tabernacle, the Israelites would travel wherever they were going. And if the cloud did not rise, they would stay put until such time as it did.

As the Cloud of God was on the Tabernacle in the daytime, and it was fire at night, always visible to the Israelites wherever their journeys took them.


Jack Kustanowitz

Joined: July 15, 2007

Jack is an Internet professional living in Silver Spring, MD. He is a proud alum of the Frisch School in Paramus, NJ as well as Boston University, where he was active at BU Hillel.

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