Vayakhel Pekudei 5773
By: Rav Jonathan Bailey
Twice after the aseret hadibrot, the laws of shabbat, specifically regarding the prohibition of doing creative work, are mentioned; both are in context of the building of the mishkan: one inKi Tisa and the other in this week’s parsha. Both times commentators learn from the juxtaposition that while the building of the mishkan was important, nothing is more important than upholding the laws of shabbat; therefore, forever more, the melakhot that were performed in building the mishkan in the desert became the foundation for the actions prohibited on shabbat.
This exegesis and subsequent halakhik
However, in this week’s parsha, none of those literary connecting hints are employed: a) themishkan paragraph comes after the laws of shabbat are mentioned; b) there is (therefore obviously) no ‘but’ mentioned to introduce the shabbat paragraph; and c) there is no mention of the word ‘melakhah’ in the entire mishkan description. In addition, the shabbatsection in Va’Yaqel specifically identifies a single prohibited melakhah: ‘do not kindle any firethroughout your settlements on the day of shabbat’. All these aspects, along with the general issue of why the Torah would need to repeat the same idea twice, demand the question: whydoes the Torah begin this week’s parsha with a three-verse section of the laws of shabbat?
To answer this question, we can not be disturbed by the differences between the two sections but rather embrace them. First we must understand the meaning of the observance of shabbat and the mishkan’s true function (the two topics we’re addressing in these sections). Observing shabbat is the nation’s affirmation of God’s overall authority over and continuous concern for His people. Just as the first shabbat attested to the fact that even though God actively created for six days, when He ceased on the seventh, the world nonetheless continued to exist because of the system that only He could establish and maintain, the nation’s emulation of God’s behavior on shabbat, therefore, expresses theirunderstanding of God’s integral role in the preservation of their lives. And the purpose of themishkan was to serve as a vehicle with which to establish a tangible presence for this awareness of God and His rule achieved ‘by’ shabbat. Next we must appreciate the context in which the beginning of this parsha finds itself. The egregious sin of the egel has transpired and subsequent forgiveness has been granted. Even with the introduction of the idea of themishkan into the consciousness of the nation, they nonetheless sinned; even withoutthe mishkan’s
Additionally, the shabbat paragraph this tim
Rav Jonathan Bailey
|Additional shiurim from this category can be found in:||Parshat Shavua (Vayakhel Pekudei)|
|Uploaded:||Wednesday, March 6, 2013|