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QUESTIONS ON PARASHAT PEDUDEI
Please note: Several of the structures of the Mishkan in this Parasha have already been dealt with in previous Parashiot.
Label the following parts of the set-up Mishkan - from A to M.
A - The Tabernacle (outer goat skin cover)
B - The Tabernacle (roof of ram/tachash skins)
C - Entrance tapestried screen to Tabernacle
D - Outer Altar
E - Courtyard open space
F - Pillars supporting the courtyard surrounding structure
G - Entrance embroidered screen to the Tabernacle Courtyard
H - Copper sockets supporting the pillars, in turn supporting the Courtyard Screen.
I - Copper sockets supporting the pillars in turn supporting the surrounding structure to the Courtyard
J - Overhangings - forming the perimeter to the Tabernacle Courtyard
K - Copper Laver
M - Ramp for ascending the Outer Altar
QUESTIONS ON THE COMMENTARIES ON PARASHAT PEKUDEI
Explain the reason for the following:
(a) The Mishkan may be seen as having even greater intrinsic holiness than the First and Second Temples after it, according to the S'forno.
(b) Betzalel is credited with having done 'what G-d told Moses' rather than 'what Moses told him' in 38:22, according to Rashi.
(c) The work of the Mishkan is described as 'avoda' rather than 'melacha' (39:43), according to the Ramban.
(d) The connection between the events in this Parasha and Psalm 90, according to the Midrash (Tanhuma 11), quoted by Rashi.
In this Parasha (40:35), the text states that 'Moses could not enter the Ten of Meeting' as 'the glory of G-d filled the Tabernacle', but in Numbers (7:89), it states that Moses did regularly enter there. How does Rashi, quoting earlier commentaries, resolve this contradiction?
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ON THE COMMENTARIES ON PARASHAT PEKUDEI
(a) The Mishkan may be seen as having even greater intrinsic holiness than the First and Second Temples after it, for four reasons - alluded to in the opening of the Parasha. It was the 'Tabernacle of the Testimony' - where the Tablets of Stone were placed - as testimony to G-d communication with the Israelites. It was built 'under Moses' charge' - gaining from his personal role, and was the 'service of the Levites' who proved themselves loyal during and after the Golden Calf. It was also built by Betzalel, who was 'filled with the spirit of G-d' (31:35). Because of all these factors the Tabernacle, in contrast to the Temples was never looted, nor did it fall into enemy hands. Solomon's Temple, by contrast, was built by non-Israelite workmen. Though the Shechina rested on it, its parts became worn and required repair and replacement.
(b) Betzalel is credited with having done 'what G-d told Moses' rather than 'what Moses told him'. According to the sources quoted by Rashi, that includes something that Moses did not reveal to Betzalel (but G-d did tell to Moses) - namely that the Mishkan should be constructed in the reverse order to G-d's directions stated in Parashat Teruma. There, the vessels to the Mishkan were detailed before the construction of the Mishkan itself. However, Betzalel's reasoning was in accordance to what Moses secretly knew to be correct - that the House (i.e. the Mishkan) should be made first, so that when the vessels were completed, they should already have an appropriate home…
(c) The work of the Mishkan is described as 'avoda' rather than 'melacha' to emphasize that those who constructed it did not work in the spirit of mere laborers, but with the dedication of Priests engaged in the 'Avoda' - the sacred Temple service.
(d) The connection between the events in this Parasha and Psalm 90 - 'A Prayer to Moses' is that its concluding verse formed the dedication of the Tabernacle - 'May of … G-d be upon us - our handiwork may He establish for us; our handiwork may He establish'. (Psalms 90:17)
The contradiction may be resolved as follows. The words 'because the cloud rested on it' (40:35) suggest that the Shechina was at its most intense then, but Moses could enter the Tabernacle to communicate with G-d at other times.
ADDITIONAL QUESTION ON PARASHAT PEKUDEI
'The silver for the census of the community was a hundred talents and 1775 shekels…a half shekel…from each person who passed through the census takers, from the age of twenty five years and up' (38:25-26).
The text says that the silver was used for the sockets of the boards that formed the walls of the Mishkan, and it was also used in part of the construction for the outer courtyard. Yet the account of the collecting of the half-shekels is placed after the description of the making of those articles. Surely the text should have told us firstly about the collecting of the silver, and then what it was made into - i.e. in a chronological order?
*Please note - My own attempts to deal with the issues related to the above may be found in the archives for 5760 in Shema Yisrael - on Parashiot Vayakhel-Pekudei.
Please note that the diagrams are adapted from 'Melechet Machashevet' - issued by the Vaad L'Ezras Chinuch of Gateshead, UK (1974).
Other Parashiot from previous years may be viewed on the Shema Yisrael web-site: http://www.shemayisrael.co.il/parsha/solomon/index.htm
Written by Jacob Solomon. Tel 02 673 7998. E-mail: email@example.com for any points you wish to raise and/or to join those that receive this Parasha sheet every week.
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