Parsha: Pekudei (2024)

A high-ranking delegation from Israel attended U.S. President Kennedy’s funeral in 1963, led by Israeli President Zalman Shazar. 


After the funeral the Israeli contingent met with the new President Lyndon Johnson. He said to them, “You’ve lost a friend, but you’ve gained an even bigger friend.” 

And indeed, President Lyndon B. Johnson took U.S./Israel relations to the level where the U.S. was now the top supporter of Israel, both diplomatically and security-wise.

Especially during the Six-Day War, Lyndon B. Johnson’s support for Israel was absolute. 


After all this, the leader of the Soviet Union asked Johnson why the United States supported Israel so much when there were 80 million Arabs and three million Jews. Johnson answered him, “Because it’s the right thing to do.” 


In this weeks Parshah of Pekudei, we finally read about the actual construction of the Mishkan right from the beginning.

 In the second verse, the Torah tells us: “And Betzalel… made all that Hashem had commanded Moshe.” 


Rashi points out, that the very fact that the Torah states that Betzalel made all that Hashem had commanded Moshe, and that he had done everything that he was told to do, implies that he also did things that Moshe had not told him to do. 

In other words, there were things that Moshe had not commanded him but Betzalel discerned what G-d wanted on his own.


There were always people in one form or another who discerned on their own what the right thing to do was. They weren’t tzadikim and sometimes they weren’t even Jews. But still, they sensed what G-d wanted them to do. 



And this, is the lesson from this week’s Torah portion. 


Your name doesn’t have to be Betzalel to be a person who is b’tzeil kel—in G-d’s Shadow. Rather, every Jew needs to get closer to G-d and His Torah so as to get to the level where he or she intuitively knows what G-d wants of him or her.

 As is the case with happy marriages, where both husband and wife know what the other wants without him or her having to say so explicitly.

 So too we can become aware and more intuitive with what G-d wants from us and know what is “the right thing to do.”