Earlier Moses received instructions on the making of the tabernacle, the ark, the altars, the lamp and other furniture and implements to be used both to host God’s presence and to serve for his worship. In Ya-yakhel, the construction of these things begins. We have become used to berating ourselves for our failings: the golden calf, our complaints and fears. Here, however, the people show the best within them. Moses ask for offerings of skins, wool, fine linen, gold, silver and precious stones with which to build and weave the furniture and furnishings. He asks for volunteers to craft and form everything as it should be, and he is overwhelmed by the contributions and by the volunteers. So much is given that the architects and builders have to ask the people to stop bringing more things. Sometimes one’s family can bring sorrow and pain, but here they bring joy.

And so we come to P’kudei, or the accounting, the making of the priestly vestments and the literal joining of the tribes of Israel to the High Priest by the names attached to his breastplate. Moses is pleased with all the work and everything is made ready. “God’s glory filled the Tabernacle” and the people are ready to move on, as move they must. Chazak, chazak, v’nitzchazeik.

To join the congregation in prayer and to gain insight into this week’s parsha, come along this Saturday at 10.30. David Jacobs, former Director for Synagogue Partnership for the Movement for Reform Judaism and now a Community Consultant, will be leading the service.