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March 15, 2012 - Image 51

Resource type:
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Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-03-15

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spiritualit r >> Torah portion

The
Sanctity
Of
Shabbat

Parshot Vayachel-Pekudei:
Exodus 35:1-38:20, 38:21-40:38;
1 Kings 7:40-7:50; 7:51-8:21.

T

he Torah portions of Vayachel-
Pekudei deal for the most
part with Moses instructing
the Jews about the construction of the
Mishkan (Tabernacle). Interestingly, the
Torah portion prefaces this with three
verses about the importance of observ-
ing and guarding the sanctity of the
Sabbath.
The Talmud teaches that the unit
dealing with Shabbat directly
precedes the instructions con-
cerning the Mishkan to teach
us that Shabbat preempts the
building of the Mishkan; the
39 creative acts utilized in
constructing the Mishkan are
those activities that are pro-
scribed on Shabbat.
Although God is extant
everywhere, there are certain
times and places where He
can be more readily sensed.
When the Mishkan stood, it
was there that it was easier to
access Him. Subsequently, it was the Holy
Temple and Jerusalem where God was
(and remains) more accessible.
Now, we have the synagogue, known
as the Mikdash Me'at, the miniature
Temple. But in all times there was the
Jewish home, which was meant to mirror
the Mishkan/Temple and be a sanctuary
for God.
Shabbat is in time what the Mishkan
and Jerusalem are in space. More than
just 25 hours of physical rest, Shabbat
is the most conducive time to elicit the
sublime energy within our souls.
How?
Our sages find it remarkable that the
account of the Creation takes up two
chapters in the Torah portion of Bereshit,
while the construction of the Mishkan
is covered in 16 chapters, spanning
five Torah portions — beginning with
Terumah and ending with Pekudei. It
seems out of character for the Torah,
which is generally very sparing of words,
to devote so much time dealing with all
the specifications and minutiae of the
Mishkan and its vessels.
When it comes to building a home,

"God is in the details." Sloppily installed
plumbing will leak, a poorly laid founda-
tion will crack, a shoddy paint job will
not hold up and slapdash electrical work
can send your entire house up in flames.
This is equally true when creating a
home for God. It is possible, unfortunately,
to observe mitzvot without paying much
attention to detail — and without much
kavana (spiritual surrender to God).
In these five portions,
Torah teaches that the only
way to generate a true Godly
feeling and literally to create
an abode for Him is by pay-
ing attention to detail and
maintaining proper kavana
— the two essential com-
ponents in putting up the
Mishkan.
It's not easy to always do
mitzvot in this optimum
way, but Shabbat is the oasis
in time that affords us the
opportunity to unite more
significantly and more profoundly with
family, community and — most impor-
tantly — with the Almighty.
Let us all make a commitment this
very Shabbat to take advantage of the
wondrous gift that God has bequeathed
to us. There is now a veritable explo-
sion of Judaic knowledge — books,
audio, video, online — that enables us
to become more informed and more
knowledgeable about the practical and
mystical aspects of Shabbat. We even
have the technology to download during
the week the traditional Shabbat melo-
dies that add to the beauty of this special
day!
Let me end off with the classic
Yiddish greeting:
A Gutten Shabbos!
May you have a good Shabbat, a
meaningful Shabbat, a Shabbat of peace
and holiness and connection, a Shabbat
that brings God into your home and
into your life. ❑

Elimelech Silberberg is rabbi of Sara &

Morris Tugman Bais Chabad Torah Center in

West Bloomfield.

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March 15 • 2012

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