Rebbe El on Torah and Israel – Parashat Vayakhel-Pekudei 5778 –
Shabbat Parah – Birkat HaChodesh
This week we have the double Torah portions of Parashat Vayakhel and Parashat Pekudei and we conclude the Book of Exodus, Sefer Shemot. With the conclusion of Sefer Shemot, we see the conclusion of the building of the Mishkan, the movable Tabernacle that the Children of Israel, B’nai Yisrael, built while wandering in the desert. It always fascinates me that the Children of Israel had all the supplies they needed to build the magnificent embellishments for the Mishkan, yet they did not have time for the dough to rise and we wind up eating matzah for the days of Passover. What lesson does this teach us? When it comes to items that are needed to worship God, or items needed for a holy purpose, we are always able to obtain what we need. The Children of Israel were able to bring so many items for the building of the Tabernacle, and there were so many gifts for the Mishkan, that eventually Moses had to tell B’nai Israel to stop bringing gifts; they had enough items to build the Tabernacle. And they could stop bringing all the gifts. Their lesson for us is that when it’s for a higher purpose, a holier purpose, we should do our best to make sure that we can provide for the highest cause. For example when it’s a special birthday we make sure that we can get a special gift. We’re getting ready for a special trip we make sure that we clean well, we save up for that special trip. What is one of the most magnificent times in one’s life? One of the most magnificent trips that one can take? Of course since I’m writing about Israel, and from ITC, Israel Tour Connection, a trip to Israel is the most wonderful time – a time to save up all of our money, to make the special memories together; to travel to Israel – to bring our special gifts together; to go to the Holy Land together – with our family and friends; to visit the holiest place in the world – the land of Israel; the state of Israel – to celebrate our homeland. As we conclude the book of Exodus, and say, Hazak, Hazak V’nitzchazek, the words that mean – may we all strengthen each other, we also mark one of the special Shabbatot before Passover, Shabbat Parah. On Shabbat Parah, the maftir Torah reading discusses the burning of the red heifer, whose ashes were used to purify oneself. Furthermore, this Shabbat, we also recite the blessing for the new month of Nisan, praying for a month of health, happiness,and prosperity; a month of peace, sustenance, and renewal for all. May we be blessed with many gifts in our lives, and see blessings of holiness each and every day. Shabbat Shalom!