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Parshat P'kudei

If you ask Shabbat mom, P'kudei, the last chapter of the Book of Shmot (Exodus), explains why there are so many Jewish bankers (not to mention accountants). It's all about the Biblical Benjamins, baby! We learn that the amount of gold used "in all of the work of the sanctuary...came to 29 talents and 730 shekels by the sanctuary weight. The silver of those of the community who were recorded came to 100 talents and 1775 shekels....the copper from the elevation offering came to 70 talents and 2400 shekels."

G-d, whom we know is in the details, tells Moses exactly how to assemble and consecrate the holy spaces, with each sacred object set in its rightful place. And Moses is very good at following G-d's directions.

"In the first month of the second year, on the first of the month...Moses set up the Tabernacle, placing its sockets, setting up its planks, inserting its bar, and erecting its posts...He spread the tent over the Tabernacle, placing the covering of the tent on top of it--just as the Lord had commanded Moses.

He took the Pact and placed it in the ark; he fixed the poles to the ark, placed the cover on top of the ark, and brought the ark inside the Tabernacle. Then he put up the curtain for screening, and screened off the Ark of the Pact--just as the Lord had commanded Moses..."

The list goes on and on. And finally, at the very end of P'Kudei, we get to the heart--or perhaps the

soul--of the matter. After much ado about the material beauty of the Mishkan, we are reminded that

it is G-d's breathtaking (though unseen) presence in this holy space--and in our lives--that is

transformative.

"Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting, because the cloud had settled upon it and the Presence of the Lord filled the Tabernacle. When the cloud lifted from the Tabernacle, the Israelites would set out, on their various journeys; but if the cloud did not lift, they would not set out until such time as it did lift. For over the Tabernacle a cloud of the Lord rested by day, and fire would appear in it by night, in the view of all the house of Israel throughout their journeys."

Shabbat Shalom!

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