Shabbat HaChodesh - Vayak’heil/P’kudei
Moshe relays the Almighty's commands to refrain from building the Mishkan (the Tabernacle or Portable Sanctuary) on the Shabbat, to contribute items needed to build the Mishkan, to construct the components of the Mishkan and the appurtenances of the Cohanim. The craftsmen are selected, the work begins. The craftsmen report that there are too many donations, and for the first and probably the only time in fundraising history, the Jewish people are told to refrain from bringing additional contributions!
Shabbat Parah - Ki Tisa
Exodus 30:11−34:35 and Numbers 19:1 - 19:22
Rabbi Bernie Fox OU
Deep Pockets Need Long Arms
And Moshe returned to Hashem and he said: I beseech You! This nation has committed a terrible sin. They have created for themselves a god of gold. (Sefer Shemot 32:31)
Hashem shares responsibility for the golden calf
This week’s parasha describes the sin of the egel ha’zahav – the golden calf. Moshe ascended Mount Sinai to receive the Torah. He remained there for forty days and nights. The people feared that their leader had perished upon the mountain. They were seized by panic. In their state of dismay, a movement arose to create a new, more durable leader – an idol that would lead them. The product of this initiative was the golden calf. It was created by Aharon and then worshiped by a segment of the nation.
Shabbat Zachor - Tetzaveh
By Rabbi Irving Greenberg for MyJewishLearning.com
A serious lesson that focuses on fighting evil precedes the Purim fesitivites.
Purim opens on a somber note. Haman is identified as the descendant of Amalek, whose people attacked Israel in the desert, the symbol of cruelty to the weak. Before celebrating the defeat of the wicked, one must remember that God (as well as God’s people) has a war with the Amalekites and will not be at ease until the Amalekites are blotted out. Jews are pledged to work for the end of oppression of the weak everywhere; a temporary, partial victory should not blind one to the persistence of evil in the world.
On the Sabbath before Purim, the portion of the Torah dealing with Amalek is read. This day is called Shabbat Zachor, the Sabbath of Remembrance. It is a special mitzvah [commandment] of the Torah to hear the reading and thus remember.
Exodus 25:1 - 27:19 96
By Rabbi Avraham Fischer, The following article is reprinted with permission from the Orthodox Union for MyJewishLearning.com
On The Way To Sanctity
The sanctification process of materials for the Tabernacle and Temple teaches us that everything has the potential to be used for holiness.
The purpose of the Exodus was always more than the liberation of the Hebrew slaves; it was the establishment of a physical existence in which Hashem would reign. And, at the center of that existence, would be the Mishkan (Tabernacle), the portable sanctuary:
And they shall make Me a Sanctuary, that I may dwell among them (Exodus 25:8).The establishment of the Mishkan will make it possible for Hashem’s Presence to dwell in the midst of the people.
Every aspect of the Mishkan teaches us how to serve Hashem.
Shabbat Shekalim - Mishpatim
Resh Lakish said “On the first of Adar, an announcement is made concerning the Shekalim.” (Masechet Megillah)
The first of the Four Special Shabbatot is Shabbat Parshat Shekalim. It occurs either on the last Shabbat of the month of Shevat, or on the Shabbat which in that year coincides with Rosh Chodesh Adar, or on a Shabbat early in Adar. A special reading, taken from Parshat Ki Tisa (Shemot 30:11-16) is appended to the regular Torah reading.
The reading describes a census of the Jewish People which was taken while the Jews were in the Wilderness, after their Exodus from Egypt. The Torah, here and in other places, teaches that it is forbidden to count Jews in the ordinary manner; rather, the People should be called upon to contribute items, which would then be counted.