Photo of Rabbi Ettedgui

Parashat Pekudei - 5776

My friends,

This Shabbat we read the last portion of the book of Exodus. It is called Pekudei - "the records" or "accounting". Moses gives an accounting of what was done with all the gold and silver that were donated.

The book of Exodus contains 40 chapters. The last chapter relates how on the first day of the month of Nissan, exactly one year after the Exodus, the Tabernacle was completed. Moses erected the Tabernacle, placed the Tablets in the Ark, placed the Ark in the Holy of Holies, and placed all the other items in their assigned areas. When Moses completed the work, the cloud of glory covered the Tabernacle, signifying G-d's presence in the Tabernacle and in the camp of the Israelites.

Interesting to note how much was accomplished in the first year since they left Egypt. A multitude of people who were liberated and who witnessed G-d's miracles and the Revelation at Sinabelligerent people who turned to the Golden Calf, but now having repented built a Tabernacle that was accepted by G-d, a Mikdash - sanctuary - and Mishkan - a dwelling for G-d. What an accomplishment!

We can only wonder what happened to all these beautiful vessels - the ark, the menorah, the altar, the priestly garments, and the most important items, the Tablets of the Ten Commandments. The Commandments themselves, however, are still with us.

We, as the people of the covenant, can be proud of our faith and achievements - that we continue to hold on to the Torah, even after all the original pieces are no longer with us.

That's a true faith.

Shabbat Shalom,