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The Torah's Weekly Portions
Exodus/Shmot - Pekudei 101
Posted March, 2001
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Sefer (Book)

Shmot (Exodus)

Beginning Perek (Chapter):

Lamed Khet (38)

Beginning Pasuk (Verse):

Chav Alef (21)

Concluding Perek:


Concluding Pasuk:

Lamed Chet (38)

Key Points of Parashat Pekudei
This Weeks Psukim
The Focus of the Week
Commentary from the Stone Edition Chumash
Commentary by Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch
Commentary by Reb Yosef

Key Points of Parashat Pekudei:

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Parashat Pekudei is the conclusion of Sefer Sh'mot and discusses the completion of the Tabernacle. There are two interesting points that will be shared in this week's commentary.

This Week's Psukim - Perek Lamed-Tet (39):

  1. : Like everything that Hashem commanded Moses, so did the Children of Israel perform all the labor:

  2. Moses saw the entire work, and behold! -- they had done it as Hashem had commanded, so had they done! And Moses blessed them:

and at Perek Mem (40):

  1. He erected up the Courtyard all around the Tabernacle and the Altar, and he emplaced the curtain of the gate of the Courtyard. So Moses completed the work:

  2. The cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of Hashem filled the Tabernacle:

  3. Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting, for the cloud rested upon it, and the glory of Hashem filled the Tabernacle:

  4. When the cloud was raised up from upon the Tabernacle, the Children of Israel would embark on all their journeys:

  5. oil for illumination, spices for the anointment oil and the aromatic incense:

  6. If the cloud did not rise up, they would not embark, until the day it rose up :

  7. For the cloud of Hashem would be on the Tabernacle by day, and fire would be on it at night, before the eyes of all of the Children of Israel throughout their journeys:

The Focus of this Week:
In Perek Lamed-Tet (39), the Hebrew indicates something quite unique. In Perek Mem (40), a great deal concerning the one-on-one relationship that God had with B'nei Yisrael (the Children of Israel) is revealed.

Commentary from the Stone Edition Chumash:


(35) Moses could not enter. This phrase states that the glory of God was so intense that Moses could not enter, but a later verse (Numbers 7:89) states that he would regularly enter the Tent of Meeting. A third verse, the second phrase of this verse, resolves the contradiction: for the cloud rested upon it ... Thus, when the cloud rested upon the Tabernacle, Moses could not enter, but when the cloud lifted, he could enter to speak to God (Rashi, from Toras Kohanim). In the plain meaning of the verses, however, when God wished to speak to Moses, He summoned him, and Moses stood outside the Tent of Meeting, so that he did not enter the place that was filled with God's glory (Ramban).

(36) When the cloud was raised up. Only when the nation was being shown that it was to travel did the cloud lift; at all other times it rested on the Tent in all its intensity. This was a greater degree of Godly Presence than was found in the Tabernacle at Shiloh or in either Temple. But in the Third Temple, may it soon be built, the degree of the Shechinah will be even greater (Sforno).

Ramban, in his introduction to the Book of Exodus, writes that this book is the story of the first Divinely ordained national exile and the redemption from it. He concludes:

The exile was not completed until the day they returned to their place and came back to the level of their forefathers. When they left Egypt, even though they had departed from the house of slavery, they were still considered to be exiles, for they were in a foreign land, wandering in the Wilderness. When they arrived at Mount Sinai and built the Tabernacle, and the Holy One, Blessed is He, returned and rested His Presence among them, then they had returned to the level of their forefathers, who had the secret of God upon their tents -- only they were the Chariot [upon which God rested] (Bereishis Rabbah 47:8). Then they were considered to have been redeemed. Therefore this Book ends by concluding the subject of the Tabernacle, when the Glory of Hashem filled it continuously.

Commentary by Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch:
In terms of the first citation, Rav Hirsch's comments are:

Moses looked over the whole completed work, and lo! On the work two things were imprinted saying "they had made it;" in every part, in the smallest, in the greatest, the whole personality, the devotion, the voluntary enthusiasm, the power of accomplishment of the nation was expressed; and secondly "as God commanded, exactly so had they made it" this whole energetic zeal and enthusiasm had nevertheless, in part and in whole restricted itself meticulously to the Divine commands. Nowhere could be detected an effort, by adding or leaving out, to carry out any idea of improvement, to leave some impression of the artist's own personality on the work. Each and every workman accepted as his highest aim the careful and precise carrying out, not of his own ideas, but the ideas and thoughts which were embodied in the commands of God.

Commentary by Reb Yosef:
Although I am quite certain there are times when my harping on Ahavat Yisrael begins to sound like a broken record, this is one of those things that is of utmost importance to me. We can see the direct results of Ahavat Yisrael and Ahavat Hashem in the p'sukim I quoted above. Here we see recorded an instance in which individual pursuits were set aside for the greater good of B'nei Yisrael and the greater good of all things. Here we see recorded an example of what it means for Klal Yisrael (the Nation of Israel) to be or lagoyim (a light to the nations). What is even more important is what we see at the end of this Sefer. God descended upon the Tabernacle. More than that, God was physically present in this world. Perhaps there is a great lesson there for us concerning how we can bring God back to this world we live in.


Translations in Torah Portions of the week are partially taken from the ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash and from Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch Chumash

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