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Parshah Yayakhan

Parsha Vayakhal-Pekudi
(Exodus 35:1-40:38)
The Parshah of Vayak'hel records the actual implementation of G-d's instructions on how to build the Mishkan (Tabernacle), recounted earlier in the Parshah of Terumah. Indeed, much of Vayak'hel is almost an exact repeat of Terumah, the only apparent difference being that the details which in Terumah are prefaced with the words, "And they shall make..." are here presented following the preface, "And they made..."
Here again in this Parsha, we see the Sabbath in a central role, leading into the construction of the Tabernacle. In 35:5 we hear God telling Moses to instruct those "whose heart motivates them" - thus showing us that what God wants is not so much our possessions, but our desire to be one with Him.
The reading begins with the words “Moshe gathered the whole community… to assemble, and said… These are the things that Hashem commanded to make…Six days work may be done, but on the seventh day (Shabbas) you shall have sanctity (rest from work).” Moshe continues regarding the offerings that were given to build the Mishkan/ Temple in the desert; “every generous hearted person shall bring …gold, silver, and copper.” (35:1;5)
Moshe has already received the detailed instructions as to the building of the mishkan. Now he assembles the whole community to relay to them the building plans for the mishkan. Before he begins the construction details however, he first tells the entire assemble about the day of Shabbos.
Creation begins with work, “six days” and concludes with Shabbos, rest. Adam and Eve however, were created on the cusp of Shabbos, and their reality began with Shabbos and continued with the work week.
Moshe is imparting a deep and lasting truth to the assembled people.
Before we can go out into the world and create, we must first come from a place of Shabbos.The place of Shabbos is a state of ‘being’ versus a state of ‘doing.’ An oasis in time, wherein we can simply exist, revealing our innermost expression of self, unrelated to our work week titles and job descriptions. A time in which we identify ourselves by our essence, rather than external expressions or labels.
The building of the Mishkan represents the work that we do throughout the week. The creation of the mishkan required participation, individuality and creativity. The final structure was a result of the collective creative output of the nation – every capable man and woman participating in its creation.
In our state of ‘doing’, expressing our individual creativity and prowess, we risk arrogance – perhaps feeling that ‘my work is more important than yours’, or worse still – ‘I am better than you.’
So before Moshe relays to them the instructions of building the Mishkan he “gathers together the entire community” and “assembles” them. The gathering together is symbolic, as Moshe is teaching them about unity within a group, about how when they are gathered together they are all equal.
In work, in doing, in producing, in creativity we are all different, everyone has something unique to contribute, and one person may “do” better than another. Yet, in ‘non-doing,’ in resting, in being, we recognize that at our essence we are equal.
This then is the lesson that Moshe imparts. The foundation of our ‘doing’, of building a Mishkan, of carving our own space in this world, should be founded on the principle of Shabbos, the equalizing state of our ‘beingness.’

Our Doing must come from our place of Being.
What we do, and create, should be founded on who we are. And who are we?
We are all, at our very essence, a spark of the Infinite Divine OnenessThis awareness ensures that all the wonderful and amazing things that we will accomplish in our Doing, will be deeply rooted in our awareness of our essential self, the Divine spark that enlivens each and every one of us.
This week’s Torah reading imbues us with the energy of Beingness, even as we create and express our individuality in a myriad of ways.
We take the energy of Shabbos, of just ‘Being’ and draw it into our life’s work.We recognize ourselves as being part of an equal collective – and within that group, having our own unique abilities and life path. Therefore contributing to our utmost capabilities and still remaining rooted and humble in our essential self.
As we move into the ‘doing’ reality this week, we take the life force of Shabbos with us – imbuing all our accomplishments with a deep sense of our true self, where our doing is rooted in our being.
Exodus may be read at many levels - from a simple story to one with many hidden aspects linked to verses and ideas throughout the Tenakh. This may help to explain why Jewish children begin their Torah learning with Leviticus and end with Exodus.


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