Shabbat Shekalim is on the ancient Hebrew calendar the day that all Jewish males contribute to the Tabernacle shekalim (coins)
Torah:Vayakhel (Exodus 35:1-38:20)
Haftarah: ( I Kings 7:40-50)
The Torah portion continues with the commandment to observe the Sabbath repeated, followed by Moses asking the Israelites to donate gifts of gold, silver, copper, precious stones, and the like, to be used for building the tabernacle. Moses then appoints two artists, Bezalel and Oboliab to oversee the sanctuary construction. They report that the people are giving more gifts than are needed, and Moses tells the people to stop bringing donations. While under the direction of Bezalel and Oholiab, skilled craftsmen work on the construction of the tabernacle.
The sanctity of the Sabbath is stressed again in the account of the construction of the tabernacle. The Sabbath was not to be violated even for so sacred a cause as the building of the House of G-d. When the covid pandemic started everything was closed except for certain businesses, hospitals, fire and police to keep everyone safe and healthy, however the government closed the Houses of Worship. When humanity needed a sanctuary to pray and receive spiritual security, all individuals suffered both physically and mentally.
The next concept and value of Judaism this Sabbath stresses Chochmah/ wisdom, Binah/understanding, and Da’at/ knowledge. These three qualities were bestowed by G-d on Bezalel, the chief architect of the tabernacle (Exodus 35:31). Chochmah denotes intuitive wisdom, binah is the practical application of chochmah; da’at is obtained through study and education.
Since the pandemic struck and closures occurred our schools and the socialization of our youth were also shut down, even while learning on Zoom. The absence of human contact, the lack of seeing facial expressions, the damage that was done to our hearing impaired relatives and friends was major. Now that this pandemic is ebbing people may choose to rise and start learning, gathering for worship and living life again. While people will continue to maintain precaution and guard their health, some may choose a different path for their health and well being, and that is freedom.
The Jewish people strive to become Dugmahot/role models for others to emulate even in the darkest moments throughout history. May this Sabbath bring each of us a time for inner peace, prayer, and reflection.
Special prayers will be recited for the People in Ukraine and Russia, and the Region that they may strive for Peace and Not War.
Rabbi Helene Ainbinder