Vayak'hel / Pekudei "Assembled" / "Accounts"


Vayak'hel / Pekudei "And assembled" / "Accounts"

Shemot (Exodus) 35:1- 40:38

HaShem wanted to train the children of Yisrael in a new and non-idolatrous way of worship. Therefore, HaShem took the children of Yisrael out of Egypt, and away from the idolatry and the influence of Egypt. As a result, religious training for the children Yisrael began in isolation and away from the influences of the idol worshipers in other nations. As part of their religious training, the children of Yisrael would build a Tabernacle that provided a place of unified worship, where all Yisrael could learn the appropriate way to worship HaShem. The completion of the Tabernacle signified a dramatic change in the way the children of Yisrael would approach worship. The Tabernacle represented the closest personal relationship HaShem had established with humanity since He had walked with Adam in the garden. The children of Yisrael depended on HaShem's presence in the Tabernacle to be a visible sign of security demonstrating to the people that HaShem always remembers the covenant. As a testimony of HaShem's remembrance, He chose to erect the Tabernacle on a specific day. Shemot 40:17 states "it came to pass in the first month in the second year, on the first day of the month, that the tabernacle was reared up." Throughout the Tanakh, the first day of the fist month has become symbolic of HaShem's remembrance.

B'resheet 8:13 states. "it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth: and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry." On the first day of the first month, the waters receded and Noah and his family were delivered safely to dry ground. After the destruction of the planet, Noah and His family are the only remaining survivors. Why did HaShem destroy mankind and leave only a remnant? Before the flood, all humanity had become corrupt except for Noah. All the people had turned against HaShem and no longer sought to worship Him. Noah, as the only righteous individual left on the face of the earth, was the only individual seeking to worship HaShem. To preserve Noah from being consumed by the corruption around him, HaShem cleansed the earth form all the corruption that existed. In other words, HaShem judged others to save Noah from the corruption that existed on the earth. Noah was given the opportunity to establish a new generation, which would only worship HaShem. On the first day of the first month, HaShem remembered Noah and his family and safely delivered them to dry land. Therefore, Noah and his children were reassured that HaShem remembers His covenant.

When king Ahaz ruled Yehudah, Yehudah became unrighteous because of the unrighteous rule and influence of Ahaz. HaShem's people were without a strong and righteous leader. Unfortunately, without a righteous king Yehudah became perverse and fell into idolatrous worship like nearby pagan nations. HaShem remembered His covenant, and was concerned for His people's spiritual welfare. To reduce Yehudah's suffering HaShem limited Ahaz's life to thirty-five years and his reign to sixteen years. After King Ahaz died, HaShem lifted up Hezekiah to rule. Hezekiah did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord. Because of the new king, Yisrael's spiritual state changed as they began to cleanse the idolatry from the Land. Hezekiah repaired the Temple and restored the Levities and the Cohenim to their appointed places and they cleansed the Temple. Divrei-HaYamim Bet, (2Chronicles) 29:17 states "they began on the first day of the first month to sanctify, and on the eighth day of the month came they to the porch of the LORD: so they sanctified the house of the LORD in eight days; and in the sixteenth day of the first month they made an end." HaShem chose the same day that He remembered Noah, and the Tabernacle was erected to display to the world that He remembered His people and brought the Temple back to them.

After Hezekiah's rule ended Yisrael once again drifted away from serving HaShem. HaShem allowed the Babylonians to conquer and destroy Yisrael. Many Yisraelites were taken into bondage and found themselves separated from HaShem's presence. Individuals taken away became, subject to the Babylonians and lived as slaves in a foreign country. To preserve the spiritual welfare of the children of Yisrael, HaShem remembered His covenant and dealt harshly with the Babylonians. Their kingdom was divided between the Medes and Persians. Under Persian rule, HaShem inspired many Yisraelites to make an exodus from Babylon so they could return to a place where they could worship in HaShem's presence. Ezra 7:9 states "For upon the first day of the first month began he to go up from Babylon." HaShem inspired Ezra to return to the land on the first day of the first month, because it was symbolic of HaShem's remembrance of the covenant even when Yisrael was in captivity.

We can also see that HaShem's concern for the spiritual welfare of His people transcends time. HaShem realized that His people in Babylonian captivity needed, hope to survive. Therefore, HaShem called Yechezk'el to prophesy about the coming Temple in Yerushalayim. HaShem's promise in (Yechezk'el 37:25) is to return to Yerushalayim and establish King David as Yisrael's prince forever. HaShem made this promise well after King David was deceased. Therefore, HaShem is establishing Yisrael's hope on a future time when He returns. In Babylonian captivity, the children of Yisrael needed to hear that HaShem would remember the covenant and return in the future. Yechezk'el 45:18 states "Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the first month, in the first day of the month, thou shalt take a young bullock without blemish, and cleanse the sanctuary." HaShem Not only promised to return, but also restores the sons of Levi. The sons of Levi cleanse the Temple on the first day of the first month. In addition to the future prince, HaShem is showing Yisrael that He will restore the entire covenant and return the Temple to its former glory. Yechezk'el 45:20 also states that on the seventh day of the first month, all the children of Yisrael are cleansed and the entire house will be reconciled. Through Yechezk'el's prophecy, HaShem is reminding the children of Yisrael that no matter how difficult the situation, HaShem is faithful and remembers his covenant. HaShem guarantees He will return to Yerushalayim and establish His presence in the midst of His people again.

From the Torah, prophets, and writings clearly HaShem has continuously chosen the first day of the first month to testify that He remembers His covenant. HaShem chose the first day of the first month to construct the Tabernacle, because that specific day is symbolic of His past, present and future return to the covenant. Therefore, constructing the Tabernacle on the first day on the first month was to remind Yisrael that He would always be in their midst even when they strayed and became unrighteousness. Looking back at Noah, or looking ahead to Yechezk'el's Temple we can be assured that HaShem will always remember the covenant, and return to Yerushalayim.

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By Rabbi Yaakov benYosef ­ ABOUT Torah

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