March 20, 2020 – Vayakheil – Pekude

Shabbat Message from Rabbi Rosenberg, Cantor Eichaker & Rabbi Bellows

This Shabbat we will read the last two sections of the Book of Exodus. While the past few months have seemed to go quickly, there may be a feeling that time is slowing down as we contract our lives in the protectorate of our most necessary circle of existence.

Parashat Vayakheil – Pekudei (Exodus 35:1 – 40:38) concludes a transformative time in the story of our Israelite ancestors. The narrative style of the Torah has yielded to the more declarative and almost cryptic style we will experience in the Book of Leviticus. Exodus chronicles the passage of the Israelites through the wilderness. Through the Book of Exodus, the passage of time was seen through relatively short and seemingly tangential stories inserted throughout the migratory narrative. These were strategically placed to indicate a passage of time. The final “time passage” insert begins with the Golden Calf and ends with the completion of the Tabernacle. In Exodus 32:1 we read a lengthy sentence: “When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, vayikaheil haam al Aharon… – the people gathered (assembled) against Aaron…”. This marks the beginning of one of the most symbolic acts of defiance in biblical history. The side bar story concludes with the beginning of this week’s double Parasha. The very first word of Exodus 35:1 “Vayakheil – and they assembled” bookends this story with a positive resolution.

With this in mind, we offer this prayer…

Cooperation is born when disobedience merges with contrition.
Consensus is formed when doubt is overcome by knowledge.
From fabrication to function to relevance.
From chaos to calm to comity.
Dear God; be our beacon in the fog of indecision.
Help us to remove the icon of fear with the power of certainty gained in the belief in Your Ever-Present spirit.

As the superimposition of our arrogance gives way to God’s natural order; we will embrace this time as an opportunity to make our existence and the world better; knowing that the reward for a life of functional responsibly we will help to form a better world for the generation yet to be born.

Shabbat Shalom

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