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   by Jacob Solomon

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Please note: Several of the structures of the Mishkan in this Parasha have already been dealt with in Parashat Teruma.


1. Name items A - G on the Shulchan (Table).

2. Name items A - L on the Mishkan (Tabernacle).


The Shulchan (Table)

A - Mold for the show bread

B - Shelving tubes - to bear the weight of the individual loaves of show bread

C - Golden crown - around the border of the table

D - Rings - to attach the staves to the main structure

E - Staves - to carry the table

F - Boards (vertically placed) - forming the structure for the show bread

G - Spoon for frankincense offering

The Mishkan (Tabernacle)

A - Kodesh Hakadashim - the holiest part of the Mishkan, with the Aron Hakodesh - the Holy Ark.

B - The Kodesh - The holy part of the Mishkan - containing the Inner Altar, the Table, and the Menorah.

C - The tapestried screen separating the Holy area from the Holy of Holies.

D - The embroidered screen forming the entrance to the actual Mishkan structure.

E - The pillars supporting C - the tapestried screen.

F - The Boards (made of wood: overlain in gold) - arranged vertically - forming the walls of the Mishkan.

G - The silver sockets - into which the base tenons (extensions) of the boards slotted.

H - The Bars - holding together the boards, which formed the walls of the Mishkan.

I - Square rings to hold the boards together at the top ends.

J - The golden rings attached to the boards, through which the stablizing bars passed.

K - The pillars supporting D - the embroidered screen.

L - The copper sockets supporting pillars K.


Explain why:

(a) The forbidding of lighting a fire on Shabbat (35:3) is the only prohibition of Shabbat explicitly mentioned in the Torah - according to the source quoted by Rashi.

(b) The request for gifts of raw materials for the construction of the Mishkan is expressed: 'he shall bring it' (35:5) - according to the Ohr Hachayim.

(c) The Torah pays tribute to the women participating in earlier stages of the construction of the Mishkan (35:22ff) - according to the Ramban.

(d) The word 'ne-siim' (35:27) is spelt defectively, without the two 'yuds' - according to Rashi.

(e) Betzalel was worthy of being reckoned as being in 'the shade of G-d' (the literal translation of his name) - according to Rashi. (quoting Berachot 55a in his comment on Parashat Pekudei - 38:22)

(f) Moses called a halt to the contributions to the Mishkan (36:6) - and what may be learnt from that - according to the Ramban.

(g) The brightly polished sheets of copper that the women used as mirrors were used as raw materials for the copper laver (38:8).


(a) The Tslmud (Shabbat 70a) gives two opinions as to why the forbidding of lighting a fire on Shabbat is the only prohibition of Shabbat explicitly mentioned in the Torah. The first opinion is to give an example - the teaching being that just as the breaking of one law of Shabbat constitutes a full breach of Shabbat, similarly the breaking of any other of the individual laws of Shabbat constitutes a full breach of Shabbat. The second opinion holds that it is singled out as an exception to the general laws of Shabbat in that the penalty for breaking that law is less severe that for the breach of any other category of 'melacha'.

(b) The force of the words 'he shall bring it' (35:5), according to the Ohr Hachayim, puts the emphasis of the giving of gifts for the construction of the Mishkan on the goodwill of the donor. G-d Himself does not need contributions, but He does want the giver's sincere inner desire to elevate and unite himself with Him.

(c) According to the Ramban, the Torah actually pays tribute to the women participating in earlier stages of the construction of the Mishkan (35:22ff), as he understands the words 'vayavo-oo ha-anashim al ha hanashim' (35:22) as the men came 'with' the women. That implies that the men were secondary to the women in their enthusiasm to donate their valuables as raw materials for the Mishkan. Since the jewelry mentioned in the above verse was mainly worn by women, the Torah pays tribute to their immediate removal of their valuables as precious metals for the construction of the Mishkan.

(d) The word 'ne-siim' (35:27) is spelt defectively, without the two 'yuds' - according to Rashi, implying a criticism of their delay in contributing to the Tabernacle construction. They reasoned that they would let the public contribute first and then make up what was missing. But because they were 'lazy' in not racing to be at the front of the line, as it were, the Torah spells their name defectively. [They did not repeat their mistake the next time round - when the Tabernacle was dedicated, they brought generous donations immediately (Num. 7:2-3)] [Author's suggestion - there are some people do not give wedding presents immediately, but wait until after the wedding, telling the newly-wed to tell them what they would like, but did not receive. Fine in theory, but in practice, the couple may be too modest to state their real needs, they may have received more that they really believe they deserve, or, more mundanely, the good intentions may be forgotten and there will be no present at all.]

(e) Betzalel is described as having made the Mishkan 'all as G-d commanded Moses'. According to the sources quoted by Rashi, that includes something that Moses did not reveal to Betzalel - (but G-d told to Moses) - namely that the Mishkan should be constructed in the reverse order to the order of G-d's directions stated in Parashat Teruma. There, the vessels for 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 have already have an appropriate home...

(f) The Ramban understands Moses' calling a halt to the contributions for the Mishkan to the credit of the Israelites. It testifies to their unbounded generosity, the scrupulous honesty of the artisans (refusing to accept more than they needed), and to Moses - who, unlike typical rulers, was not interested in accumulating huge treasuries that would be at his disposal.

(g) Rashi brings the explanation that when the women brought the copper mirrors, Moses was reluctant to accept then. The reason is because they incited vanity and lust. G-d, however, told Moses to accept those mirrors and that they were indeed very special - in the following way. Those very same mirrors had been instrumental in the creation of the Israelite nation. In Egypt, the men had come home exhausted from their back-breaking labor, and the women used mirrors to help them to present themselves to their husbands in an enticing manner... as a result of which the Israelites continued to increase in number under the slavery in Egypt.


Why (notwithstanding the discussion above) were further donations to the Tabernacle no longer welcome - or even acceptable? Running the Tabernacle, as well as building it, was undoubtedly an expensive business. The excess contributions could surely have been traded into the funds needed for the costly daily and special-occasion communal offerings.

*Please note - My own attempts to deal with the issues related to the above may be found in the archives for 5762 in Shema Yisrael - on Parashiot Vayakhel-Pekudei.

Please note that the two 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:

Written by Jacob Solomon. Tel 02 673 7998. E-mail: for any points you wish to raise and/or to join those that receive this Parasha sheet every week.

Also by Jacob Solomon:
Between the Fish and the Soup

From the Prophets on the Haftara


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