We conclude our study of Sefer Sh’mot this Shabbat with Par’sha P’kudei. P’kudei means accounting and is a reference to the accounting Mosheh gave of all the contributions the people provided to build the Tabernacle. The record of this accounting spans the last eleven verses of chapter thirty-eight and all of chapter thirty-nine. Since it doesn’t appear that Mosheh was required to give such an accounting this is further testimony of his integrity and humbleness. Some of you might recall a word I discovered a couple of years ago that describes a person’s willingness to go beyond what is required of them. That word is super’er’ogation which is defined as as acting in a positive manner and going beyond the strict requirements Yah’s laws. It is a term we should all become familiar with by practicing it ourselves.
Something else many may be familiar with are the units of measurement that Mosheh used to record these contributions. For instance:
the gold of the wave offering. This contribution totaled 29 talents and 730 shekels according to the shekel of the Set-apart place. The sheqel of the Set-apart Place was made of a much more refined sliver, therefore worth more. A talent equalled 3,000 shekels, giving us a total of 87,730 shekels of gold, which comes to a little over 35,350 ounces of gold.
the silver from the congregation totaled 100 talents and 1775 shekels according to the sheqel of the Set-apart place. This equaled 301,775 sheqels of silver, or just over 121,600 ounces.
Additionally, the beqa בֵּקַע, the half-shekel that was collected in the census of everyone twenty years old and older, totaled 603,550 half-shekels of silver.
Other contributions included acacia wood, precious stones and blue, purple and scarlet material and so forth.
Even though we may not understand the exact amount or value of the gold, silver and other contributions, we do know that the people gave more than was needed. All of the contributions they provided had come from the items that had been given to them by the people of Mitsrayim when they made the Exodus. From the contributions that were given we get some insight to the wealth of the people of Mitsrayim. The concept of peoples from a different nation giving gold, silver and other materials to the Yisraelites in interesting given the nevuah of Yeshayahu 60, where the nations will bring their wealth into Yisra’el in the world to come.
Not only were these contributions given voluntarily by all those whose hearts moved them, all the work was done by people filled by the Ruach of Elohim and were eager to build the Tabernacle. This changed with the construction of the Temple.
Our Haftarah portion from M’lakim Alef chapter eight focused on the preparations Sh’lomo made to dedicate the Temple he had built as a more permanent Dwelling Place for Y’H’V’H’s Presence, although it proved not to be as permanent as our forefather’s had hoped. In comparison, the gold, sliver and other materials used in the construction of the Temple far outweighed that of the Tabernacle. Unlike the Tabernacle, Melek David had amassed much of the gold and silver that was needed for the Temple; it had not come from voluntary offerings by the people. There were other differences as well.
Sh’lomo had used compulsory laborM’lakim Alef 5.13 to build the Temple, not volunteers from among the people.
The Temple was destroyed twice, first by the Babylonians and then by the Romans. It was also defiled once by Antiochus and his army during the time of the Maccabees. By contrast, the much smaller and less opulent temporary Dwelling Place of the Tabernacle was never destroyed or defiled.
Mosheh gave an exact accounting of the material used in building the Tabernacle while Sh’lomo didn’t give this same accounting for the Temple. For example, in M’lakim Alef 7.47, we learned that Sh’lomo left all the utensils unweighed, because they were many, nor was the weight of the bronze searched out.
Despite these differences, the dedications of the Tabernacle and the Temple are similar. In Sh’mot 40.33b-35 we are told, …And Mosheh completed the work. And the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the esteem of יהוה filled the Dwelling Place. And Mosheh was not able to come into the Tent of Meeting, because the cloud dwelt on it, and the esteem of יהוה filled the Dwelling Place.
In M’lakim Alef 8.10-11 we read, And it came to be, when the priests came out of the Set-apart Place, that the cloud filled the House of יהוה, so that the priests were unable to stand and perform the service because of the cloud, for the esteem of יהוה filled the House of יהוה.
We should also note the dates in which the Tabernacle and the Temple were dedicated and filled with Y’H’V’H’s Presence.
In Sh’mot 40.17 we learn, And it came to be in the first new moon of the second year, on the first day of the new moon, that the Dwelling Place was raised up. This is the month of Aviv, though it has been known as Nisan since the Babylonian exile. This Shabbath we are less than a month away from celebrating the day the Tabernacle was dedicated to Y’H’V’H.
In M’lakim Alef 8.2 we read, And all the men of Yisra’el assembled to the Sovereign Sh’lomo at the festival in the month of Eythanim, which is the seventh new moon. Though we are not told which day of the seventh month this took place, M’lakim Alef 8.65 and Dibre haYamim Bet 7.8-10, suggest the dedication took place sometime in the middle of the month, around Yom Kippur to Sukkot.
All of this gives us even more reasons to celebrate the three pilgrimage feasts.
During the first month of the year, we observe the Messiah’s crucifixion, burial and resurrection during Passover, Chag Matzot and haBikkurim. It is also the month we celebrate the dedication of the Tabernacle, the temporary Tent of Meeting, which may symbolize the Messiah’s first temporary sojourn among us.
Three months after this we celebrate the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai and the coming of the Ruach to the Temple Mount during the feast of Shavu’ot.
Then, in the seventh month, we celebrate the Messiah’s return, the final Judgment and the establishment of the Messiah’s 1,000 year reign during the feasts of Yom Teruah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot. During Sukkot we will also witness the Temple the Messiah will build that will stand forever. It is possible that the Temple our forefathers built and dedicated as a more permanent Dwelling Place for Y’H’V’H in the seventh of the year was a foreshadowing of the Temple that will become a permanent, eternal Dwelling Place on this earth.
So, as we close Par’sha P’kudei and its accompanying Haftarah reading, we study the dedications of both the Tabernacle in the Wilderness and the Temple in Yerushalayim. As with all Scripture, it is our responsibility to also seek out the lessons contained in the Words of Elohim and learn to apply them to our lives. That being the case, let’s review some of the lessons of this week’s par’sha.
I’ve already mentioned super’er’ogation, or, for those who prefer to use a few more but shorter words, acting in a positive manner and going beyond just what is required of us in Torah. What do you suppose acting in a positive manner would require? (A hint: it has to do with Mosheh’s integrity and humbleness.)
Another lesson is found in Sh’mot 40.31-35. After erecting the Tabernacle, Mosheh, Aharon and his sons washed their hands and feet and went into the Tent of Meeting. After Mosheh had completed all the work, the Cloud covered the Tent of Appointment, and the esteem of Y’H’V’H filled the Dwelling Place and Mosheh was not able to come into the Tent of Appointment, because the Cloud dwelt on it and the esteem of Y’H’V’H filled the Dwelling Place. What is interesting is that Torah doesn’t say that Aharon and his sons were not able to enter the Dwelling Place.
One of the things that this teaches us is that while we all have a job to do in serving Y’H’V’H, we don’t all have the same job. Aharon, his sons and the Levites had their job and Mosheh had his. One person should not try to fulfill everyone else’s role as well as his or hers. We should earnestly seek what Y’H’V’H has for us to do in serving Him - and yes, we all are called to serve Him - and then do that which He has called us to do with all our heart, soul, and strength.
Another question that arises from our studies this week is this: do we have to wait to be told to bring our contributions to Y’H’V’H when we already knows He expects us to? We know He commands us to bring the tithe as well as our offerings, but what about that term super’er’ogation? Are we willing to go beyond just that which He requires of us to further His Work in this world?
Something else we learned is that the more we study His Word, the more reasons we find to celebrate His appointed times. His appointed times, which were established on the fourth day of this Creation, contain so many reasons to celebrate as well as reveal the story of the Messiah’s work in our redemption and eventual salvation. Next Rosh Chodesh, let’s not forget that it is the day the Tabernacle was dedicated.
We assemble to study His Word on Shabbat mornings, during Shabbat services and on Shabbat afternoons. We have two classes during our mid-week studies. Let me encourage you not just to attend as many as you can, but to be a part of the studies - and to teach what you know and learn to everyone who will listen.
2 Adar II 5776
12 March 2016