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Parashat Pekudei

Parashat Pekudei is the twenty-third weekly portion in the Torah and the eleventh and final one in the Book of Exodus (38:21-40:38). In it, the work of the Mishkan is completed, and God tells Moses to assemble it as commanded.

The first dozen verses (38:21-39:1) detail how the precious materials are utilized: the weight of the gold, silver and bronze and their use. As for the fine linen and the three types of dyed wool (sky-blue, crimson and scarlet), these are used for some of the hangings in the Tabernacle, but mostly for the vestments of Aaron and his sons, as detailed in Chapter 39. In Chapter 40, Moses finally assembles the Mishkan and the Cloud of God’s Glory settles upon it, to direct the Israelites on their journey to the Promised Land.

In many ways, Parashat Vayakhel and Parashat Pekudei form a pair, as together they describe the fulfillment of God’s commands concerning the Tabernacle. Nevertheless, while the latter has a recurring phrase which appears fifteen times, the former does not even mention it: “as God commanded Moses.” This seems strange, since the structure and vessels of the Mishkan in Parashat Vayakhel seem to follow the exacting specifications laid out earlier.

However, when we look back at Parashat Teruma, we see a recurring phrase: “as you were shown upon the mountain.” The vessels and structure of the Tabernacle are shown to Moses upon Mount Sinai, and in a perfect world, he himself would make all the components of the Mishkan. However, since Moses does not have the skills of Bezalel, Oholiab and their staff, he must delegate this task. The measurements are still dictated by God, but these items cannot be said to be made precisely “as God commanded Moses.”

When it comes to the vestments in Chapter 39, however, these are described from the beginning as being made by artisans, not by Moses or Aaron. Thus, the vestments are indeed made “as God commanded Moses.”

Putting together the Tabernacle in Chapter 40 is also “as God commanded Moses.” Moses in this case is directly involved, and doing it precisely as envisioned.

Thus, the Book of Exodus concludes with the erection of the Mishkan, exactly one year after Moses first gives commandments to Israel in Egypt, when they are still slaves. This tumultuous, challenging year ends with the fulfillment of God’s words to Moses at the Burning Bush (3:12): “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have bring the people out of Egypt, you all shall worship God at this mountain.”


The portion from the Prophets begins at the end of the seventh chapter of the First Book of Kings, as King Solomon completes the Temple. He then assembles all Israel to witness the glory of God’s chosen abode, the site of His Presence for all generations.


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