From The Rabbi’s Study… March 20, 2021/28 Adar 5781
Torah: Vayakhel/Pekudei (Exodus 35:1-38:20)/(Exodus 38:21-40:38)
Haftarah: Shabbat HaChodesh
During Shabbat service the prayer for the new month of Nisan will be recited.
Nisan is the Jewish month that has the Festival of Pesach/Passover.
This Shabbat has double Parshot, the Haftarah is special and called Shabbat HaChodesh because the Book of Shemot (Exodus) will be finished. The Book of Shemot contains 1209 verses, 40 chapters and 11 Sidrot.
Vayakhel repeats the commandment to observe the Sabbath. Moses asks the Israelites to donate gifts of gold, silver, copper, precious stones, and the like, to be used for building the tabernacle. Moses appoints Bezalel and Oholiab to oversee the sanctuary construction. They report that the people are giving more gifts than are needed. Moses tells the people to stop bringing donations. Under the directions of Bezalel and Oboliab, skilled craftsmen work to construct the tabernacle.
One may ask the question, “Where did the Israelites get these precious items, if they were slaves?” SPOILER ALERT!!! One of the Ten Plagues was Darkness. It was so dark that the Egyptians could not see or move. The Israelites were able to see and move during this plague. They saw all the riches of the Egyptians. When Pharaoh released the Israelites, they were given these items as payment for the 400 years of SLAVERY!
Pekudei has the description of the records kept of all work and materials used in the construction of the tabernacle, as well as the donations by the Israelites. Moses and the Israelites celebrate the completion of the tabernacle by anointing it. G-d’s Presence fills the tabernacle and leads the people throughout their journey.
The Maftir (concluding part of the Torah reading) and the Haftarah of
Shabbat HaCHodesh (Exodus 12:1 -20; Ezekiel 45:16-46:18)
The Sabbath before the beginning of the Hebrew month of Nisan is called Shabbat
HaCHodesh. The additional maftir reading especially chosen for this occasion describes the paschal sacrifice of the first Passover in Egypt, as well as the rules and preparation of the perennial celebration of the festival.
The Haftarah, like the Maftir Torah reading, touches upon the Passover sacrifices in the course of Ezekiel’s description of the restored Temple in Jerusalem. This provides the connection between the Haftarah and its being read a couple of weeks before the start of the festival Passover.
Passover/Pesach begins with the Torah story of Joseph’s life. Joseph rose to be the vizier, second in command under the Pharaoh (Genesis 37-50). Did you ever question how an Israelite slave could become second in command of Egypt? The Egyptians had ancestors that came from the Mesoptanian region. So the Jews and Egyptians were once related.
Joseph saved the Egyptian people and other groups, including Jews, in the area during a great famine. Approximately four hundred years after Joseph’s death, the Book of Exodus begins and so does the Passover story. The Haggadah – The Story!
The Seder – The Order…
The Seder Plate…
The five symbolic items:
Karpas – Parsley …Springtime
Zeroah – Lambshank/Beet for Vegans or Vegetarians … The sacrificed lamb,and the blood of which was put on the doorposts. Sacrificial lambs were also offered at the Temple of Jerusalem.
Maror – Bitter Herbs (usually Horseradish) * You can use radicchio lettuce because it has a bitter taste. Maror in Hebrew means bitter. It represents the harshness of slavery.
CHaroset – Mixture of nuts, apples, and wine chopped into a paste or relish (Israelis use dates and honey with their nuts). This represents the mortar the Hebrews used.
Baytzah – Roasted Egg… new life. * Vegans and vegetarians may use a potato.
May we continue to stay healthy and safe.
May we continue to contact friends and family or the rabbi by phone, video or texting.
May everyone continue to embrace these new challenges that happened and may it be for a short time. Most people have now received the vaccine, however please adhere to the government directions, and your doctor for health issues.
Rabbi Helene Ainbinder