2 Adar II 5779 – Pekudei

We had a fabulous weekend last Shabbat with a sold-out Shabbat dinner and a stimulating talk by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach!

This week, I would like us to consider the following.

We all have two sets of lives. The lives of our dreams and the lives of our reality. The lives that we wished for and the lives that we ended up with. How do we overcome the feelings of frustration and brokenness that arise from the realisation that our lives have fallen short?

This week we will read Parashat Pekudei, continuing last week’s theme in it’s recounting of how the Jews built the Mishkan, G-d’s portable Sanctuary. It is interesting, that this Parasha and last week’s, are nearly a direct repetition, word-for-word, of Parshat Terumah and Tetzaveh, read only a few weeks prior. In those Parshiot, the Jews were given the command and ‘vision’ regarding the Mishkan’s construction. In these Parshiot, the Jews carry out that exact command. So why the lengthy repetition? Surely the Torah could have saved itself hundreds of verses by simply stating: “And the Jews did as they were commanded”?!?

An answer is this: The Torah is actually talking about two, different sanctuaries. A heavenly model and an earthly one. One existed in G-d’s vision and another, translated into earthly reality through human endeavour. Now, you might think that the Sanctuary that existed in the heaven’s would be the superior one, after all, it was flawless, emanating from G-d Himself. Yet the Torah takes the time to go through the details of the actual construction to tell us that it’s specifically the physical Sanctuary that is of utmost significance. Yes, it may be by definition limited and flawed. The people may have faced numerous and diverse challenges in constructing it. Yet, at the end of the day, it was made real through human cooperation, resilience and endeavour and, in G-d’s eyes, this is the real story that’s worth mentioning to the very last detail.

It is true. Sometimes life takes a very different path to the one that we imagined. Yet true life and beauty come from the way that we deal with overcoming those challenges in translating our vision into concrete reality.

Wishing you and your families Shabbat Shalom

Yossi and Chana Raizel Friedman