Vayakhel-Pekude-Parah – Perasha Synopsis

Perashot Vayakhel and Pekude, describe the actual building of the Mishkan and the tailoring of the vestments of the Kohanim, respectively.

Perashat Vayakhel, as it names implies, Moshe “gathers and assembles” the entire People of Israel and instruct them to build the Tabernalce according to the specifications given to him in Perashat Teruma and Tessaveh.

In Perashat Teruma, while Moshe was on top of Mount Sinai, G-D commanded Moshe to take a contribution – terumah from each person in Bene Yisrael in order to build a tabernacle for worship. The Perasha details very specifically the dimensions and materials needed to build the Mishkan itself and the various ritualistic objects in the Mishkan. Perashat Tessaveh is a continuation of that conversation on top of Mount Sinai. It outlines the vestments worn by the Kohanim, the children of Aharon, while they were serving in the Tabernacle and during their Priestly service.

Moshe begins explaining about the importance of observing Shabbat and the prohibition to do work. This was to inform the nation that, despite the important to build the Mishkan – Tabernacle, it may not be built on the Sabbath. Once Moshe made that clear, he proceeded to instruct them about the construction of the Tabernacle and its accouterments.

Perashat Pekude, as its name implies, begins telling about the “accounting” of all the material gathered to built the Mishkan and to make the vestments of the Kohanim, and continues by describing the actual process of tailoring the vestments. The Perasha concludes, with the erection of the Mishkan on the first day of the month of Nisan. this took place one year after they left Egypt. The inauguration of the Mishkan, which we will read about it in the next several weeks, will last 12 days, one day per tribe.

Once the Mishkan was erected.the Cloud of Gory covered the Tent of Meeting and the Glory of Hashem filled the Tabernacle.

A third reading is done this week, called Perashat Parah. Although, not a Perasha by itself, it is a paragraph describing the laws of the Red Heifer – Parah Aduma. It is customarily read two shabbatot prior to the month of Nissan, in preparation for the Holiday of Passover. The Hok- decree of Parah Aduma, specifies that the ashes of the Red Heifer when sprinkled over a person or utensils that touched a cadaver, and therefore are considered ‘unclean’ for having touched a cadaver, will render that person or utensils spiritually ‘clean’. It is a “Hok” meaning it is a law that we do not understand the why and how. This law is not applicable outside the era of the presence of the Great Temple, therefore it is not applicable in our days. It is read almost a month prior to Passover, to alert us to be ready and spiritually ‘clean’ to be able to partake from the Pascual Lamb offering, which, also in our days, is not applicable.

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