Updated: Mar 9, 2021
Parashat Vayakhel-Pekudei / פרשת וַיַּקְהֵל־פְקוּדֵי
Read in the Diaspora on 13 March 2021 (29 Adar 5781).
Parashat Vayakhel-Pekudei is the 22nd and 23rd weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading.
Torah Portion: Exodus 35:1-40:38
This week’s parashat is a double portion, Vayakhel-Pekudai. Within a nineteen-year period, seven years are “leap” years, in which the additional month of Adar II is added. Since the Hebrew calendar is a lunar calendar, it is 11 days less than the secular solar calendar in use in our society. After two or three years, the holidays have been occurring earlier each year and thus are out of sync with their seasonal placement. That extra month helps reestablish the appropriate time for those holidays. This accounts for when some holidays occur on Shabbat and there is a special parashat that also puts the cadence of Torah portions off. Therefore, some portions are doubled up so that the reading of the Torah occurs during Simchat Torah which occurs in October. These portions are one of those pairs.
Torah portions can be paired when they similar or concurrent themes. Vayakhel-Pekudai finalizes the plans to collect materials and build the Mishkan and its artifacts, outfit the Cohenim, and sanctify this new process. Just as previous portions described the dimensions and building process of this new dwelling place of Hashem, these two portions address that the process gets done.
Parashat Vayakhel reiterates not to work on any of these projects during Shabbat. It then repeats that Israelites whose heart motivates them, should contribute to the Tabernacle and how the people brought supplies (braceltes, noserings, ornaments) for all the projects. It then repeats how Belzalel and Oholiab were selected as the master contractors to supervise.
The parashat then describes that the building and crafting were carried out: curtains, cover, planks, partitions, screen, table, menorah and incense altar. They then made the elevation-offering altar, laver, courtyard and screen.
Parashat Pekudai reviews that amount of gold and silver that was used in the construction. It then reviews that the clothing and attire was made: Aaron’s vestments, breastplate, robe of the Ephod, tunics of linen and head-plate. Moses then inspected all the finished products. Moses then commanded the workers to set up the Tabernacle. They then erected the Tabernacle as the Glory of Hashem filled the Tablenacle.
This concludes the book of Exodus.
Shabbat HaChodesh / שַׁבָּת הַחֹדֶשׁ
Shabbat HaChodesh (Shabbat before Rosh Chodesh Nissan) for Hebrew Year 5781 begins at sundown on Friday, 12 March 2021 and ends at nightfall on Saturday, 13 March 2021.
Shabbat HaChodesh ("Sabbath [of the] month" שבת החודש) precedes the first of the Hebrew month of Nisan during which Passover is celebrated. Exodus 12:1-20 and the laws of Passover. On the first day of Nisan, G-d presented the first commandment of how to "sanctify the new moon" (kiddush hachodesh) for the onset of Rosh Chodesh and thus Nisan becomes the first month of the Jewish year (counting by months.)