Welcome to Beyond Twelve Gates. Do you believe that
Somebody is out there listening? A recent study indicates
that most Americans believe that G-d is not only listening, but is
involved in their everyday lives and concerned with their personal
well-being. The study, published in the March issue of the journal Sociology
of Religion, offers some fascinating highlights. 82 percent of
participants reported that they depend on G-d for help and guidance in
making decisions. 71 percent said they believe when good or bad
things happen, these occurrences are simply part of G-d's plan for
The basic Jewish understanding of G-d is that He is not only
our Creator, but our Sustainer and Supervisor as well. Albert
Einstein once said, "Coincidence is G-d's way of remaining anonymous." Our
traditional sources express the idea that each single blade of
grass grows with Divine Supervision. Perhaps we should think twice
the next time we consider using the words 'luck', 'chance' and
Vayakhel--Pekudei Exodus 35:1 -- 40:38
This week we read the final portion of Exodus, a book which
began with the Jewish people enslaved to Pharaoh in Egypt
and now ends with the completion of the construction of the Mishkan
in the desert. Exodus is known as 'the Book of Redemption';
redemption was achieved not only through our escape from slavery, but
also through receiving the Torah
on Mt. Sinai which gave purpose to that freedom. The climax of that
salvation was when G-d rested His presence amongst the Jewish nation when
the Mishkan was completed.
Parshas Vayakhel (Exodus 35:1 -- 38:20) begins with Moses
assembling the entire nation of Israel to transmit the
details of the construction and fabrication of the Mishkan as
described in the three previous Torah portions.
However, Moses first cautions them about the fundamental mitzvah to
observe Shabbat. The nation is
reminded that although the construction of the Mishkan is of
transcendent importance, it does not take precedence over the weekly
observance of Shabbat. The portion describes that the Jewish
people came forward with their generous contributions for the Mishkan's
construction, producing a surplus of supplies. The craftsmen
are selected and the building begins.
Parshas Pekudei (Exodus 38:21 -- 40:38) begins with a
complete accounting of the gold, silver and copper contributed by the
people for use in the Mishkan. Following Moses'
inspection and approval of the many utensils and unassembled parts, Moses
sets up the Mishkan on Rosh Chodesh Nissan
as each part is anointed and arranged in its proper location. And
as G-d promised, His glory fills the Mishkan.
"The people of this city and region have been so good
to me and my family that we just felt strongly about doing something to
protect the city we have come to love so much."
Shmuelik was a little slow. In fact, Shmuelik
was just plain dumb in most people's opinion. Some of the boys
would play a joke on Shmuelik. They would show him a nickel and a
dime and offer him a choice of one of the two coins. Shmuelik,
being the dummy that he was, would always pick the nickel.
One day kindly Mrs. Goldfarb who had heard about Shmuelik
decided to see if he was really as dumb as everyone said he was.
She took a dime and a nickel from her purse and offered them to
him. Shmuelik picked up the nickel and said, "The nickel is
bigger and shinier, and it has a picture of a building on the back, which
I think is really neat, so I'll take the nickel."
Mrs. Goldfarb said, "Poor boy, don't you know that a
dime is worth more than a nickel?" "Well of course I know
that," Shmuelik answered. "Well then, why do you always
choose the nickel?"
"Because," Shmuelik responded, "if I ever
chose the dime, people would stop giving me nickels."