Vayakhel

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To be distinguished from Kehilla or Kohelet.

Vayakhel, Wayyaqhel, VaYakhel, Va-Yakhel, Vayak’hel, Vayak’heil, or Vayaqhel (וַיַּקְהֵלHebrew for "and he assembled,” the first word in the parashah) is the 22nd weekly Torah portion (פָּרָשָׁה, parashah) in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the 10th in the book of Exodus. It constitutes Exodus 35:1–38:20. The parashah is made up of 6,181 Hebrew letters, 1,558 Hebrew words, and 122 verses, and can occupy about 211 lines in a Torah scroll (סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה, Sefer Torah).[1]

Jews read it the 22nd Sabbath after Simchat Torah, generally in March. The lunisolar Hebrew calendar contains up to 55 weeks, the exact number varying between 50 in common years and 54 or 55 in leap years. In leap years (for example, 2014, 2016, and 2019), parashah Vayakhel is read separately. In common years (for example, 2015, 2017, and 2018), parashah Vayakhel is combined with the next parashah, Pekudei, to help achieve the number of weekly readings needed.

The parashah tells of the making of the Tabernacle and its sacred vessels.

The Erection of the Tabernacle and the Sacred Vessels (illustration from the 1728 Figures de la Bible)

Readings[edit]

In traditional Sabbath Torah reading, the parashah is divided into seven readings, or עליות, aliyot.[2]

Lapis lazuli
Acacia tree

First reading — Exodus 35:1–20[edit]

In the first reading (עליה, aliyah), Moses convoked the Israelites to build the Tabernacle. Moses started by reminding them of God’s commandment to keep the Sabbath of complete rest.[3] Then Moses told them to collect gifts of materials from those whose heart so moved them — gifts of gold, silver, copper, colored yarns, fine linen, goats hair, tanned ram skins, acacia wood, olive oil, spices, lapis lazuli, and other stones.[4] Moses invited all who were skilled to make the Tabernacle, its furnishings, and the priests’ vestments.[5]

Second reading — Exodus 35:21–29[edit]

In the second reading (עליה, aliyah), the Israelites brought the gifts that Moses requested.[6]

Third reading — Exodus 35:30–36:7[edit]

In the third reading (עליה, aliyah), Moses announced that God had singled out Bezalel and Oholiab to endow them with the skills needed to construct the Tabernacle.[7] And Moses called on them and all skilled persons to undertake the task.[8] The Israelites brought more than was needed, so Moses proclaimed an end to the collection.[9]

The Ark in the Tabernacle (1984 illustration by Jim Padgett, courtesy of Sweet Publishing)

Fourth reading — Exodus 36:8–19[edit]

In the fourth reading (עליה, aliyah), the skilled workers fashioned the Tabernacle’s curtains, loop, clasps, and coverings.[10]

The Menorah (1984 illustration by Jim Padgett, courtesy of Sweet Publishing)

Fifth reading — Exodus 36:20–37:16[edit]

In the long fifth reading (עליה, aliyah), they made the Tabernacle’s boards, silver sockets, bars of acacia-wood, rings of gold, veil, pillars of acacia-wood, screen for the door, and sockets of brass.[11] Bezalel made the ark, cover, and table.[12]

Sixth reading — Exodus 37:17–29[edit]

In the sixth reading (עליה, aliyah), Bezalel made menorah and incense altar.[13]

Seventh reading — Exodus 38:1–20[edit]

In the seventh reading (עליה, aliyah), Bezalel made the altar for sacrifices, laver, and enclosure for the Tabernacle.[14]

Inner-biblical interpretation[edit]

The parashah has parallels or is discussed in these Biblical sources:[15]

Exodus chapters 25–39[edit]

This is the pattern of instruction and construction of the Tabernacle and its furnishings:

The Tabernacle
Item Instruction Construction
Order Verses Order Verses
The Sabbath 16 Exodus 31:12–17 1 Exodus 35:1–3
Contributions 1 Exodus 25:1–9 2 Exodus 35:4–29
Craftspeople 15 Exodus 31:1–11 3 Exodus 35:30–36:7
Tabernacle 5 Exodus 26:1–37 4 Exodus 36:8–38
Ark 2 Exodus 25:10–22 5 Exodus 37:1–9
Table 3 Exodus 25:23–30 6 Exodus 37:10–16
Menorah 4 Exodus 25:31–40 7 Exodus 37:17–24
Altar of Insense 11 Exodus 30:1–10 8 Exodus 37:25–28
Anointing Oil 13 Exodus 30:22–33 9 Exodus 37:29
Incense 14 Exodus 30:34–38 10 Exodus 37:29
Altar of Sacrifice 6 Exodus 27:1–8 11 Exodus 38:1–7
Laver 12 Exodus 30:17–21 12 Exodus 38:8
Tabernacle Court 7 Exodus 27:9–19 13 Exodus 38:9–20
Priestly Garments 9 Exodus 28:1–43 14 Exodus 39:1–31
Ordination Ritual 10 Exodus 29:1–46 15 Leviticus 8:1–9:24
Lamp 8 Exodus 27:20–21 16 Numbers 8:1–4

Exodus chapter 35[edit]

Exodus 35:1 opens, “And Moses assembled” (וַיַּקְהֵל מֹשֶׁה, vayakhel Mosheh), in an echo of Exodus 32:1, which says, “the people assembled” (וַיִּקָּהֵל הָעָם, vayikahel ha’am).

Exodus 35:3 prohibits kindling fire on the Sabbath. Numbers 15:32–33 reports that when the Israelites came upon a man gathering wood on the Sabbath (apparently with the intent to fuel a fire), they brought him before Moses, Aaron, and the community and placed him in custody, “because it had not been declared what should be done to him.”[16] Clearing up any uncertainty about whether the man had violated the law, God told Moses that the whole community was to pelt him with stones outside the camp, and they did.[17]

Solomon offered sacrifices on the altar that Bezalel built. (1984 illustration by Jim Padgett, courtesy of Sweet Publishing)

Exodus chapter 38[edit]

2 Chronicles 1:5–6 reports that the bronze altar, which Exodus 38:1–2 reports Bezalel made, still stood before the Tabernacle in Solomon’s time, and Solomon sacrificed a thousand burnt offerings on it.

Exodus 38:8 reports that Bezalel made the bronze laver and its base from “the mirrors of the serving women who did service at the door of the tent of meeting.” 1 Samuel 2:22 reports that Eli’s sons “lay with the women who did service at the door of the tent of meeting.”

Josephus

In early nonrabbinic interpretation[edit]

The parashah has parallels or is discussed in these early nonrabbinic sources:

Exodus chapter 35[edit]

Josephus taught that when the Israelites brought together the materials with great diligence, Moses set architects over the works by the command of God. And these were the very same people that the people themselves would have chosen, had the election been allowed to them: Bezalel, the son of Uri, of the tribe of Judah, the grandson of Miriam, the sister of Moses, and Oholiab, file son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan.[18]

Classical rabbinic interpretation[edit]

The parashah is discussed in these rabbinic sources from the era of the Mishnah and the Talmud:

Exodus chapter 35[edit]

The Mekhilta According to Rabbi Ishmael taught that Exodus 35:1–3 sets forth laws of Sabbath observance here because in Exodus 25:8 God directed, “And let them make Me a sanctuary,” and one might have understood that they could build the sanctuary both on weekdays and the Sabbath. The Mekhilta taught that God’s direction in Exodus 25:8 to “make Me a sanctuary” applied on all days other than the Sabbath. The Mekhilta posited that one might argue that since the Temple service occurs even on the Sabbath, then perhaps the preparation for the service, without which the priests could not perform the service, could occur even on the Sabbath. One might conclude that if the horn of the altar broke off or a knife became defective, one might repair them on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:1–3 teaches, however, that even such work must be done only on weekdays, and not on the Sabbath.[19]

Rabbi Judah haNasi taught that the words “These are the words” in Exodus 35:1 referred to the 39 labors that God taught Moses at Sinai.[20] Similarly, Rabbi Hanina bar Hama said that the labors forbidden on the Sabbath in Exodus 35:2 correspond to the 39 labors necessary to construct the Tabernacle.[21]

Tractate Shabbat in the Mishnah, Tosefta, Jerusalem Talmud, and Babylonian Talmud interpreted the laws of the Sabbath in Exodus 16:23 and 29; 20:7–10 (20:8–11 in the NJPS); 23:12; 31:13–17; 35:2–3; Leviticus 19:3; 23:3; Numbers 15:32–36; and Deuteronomy 5:11 (5:12 in the NJPS).[22]

The Mishnah taught that every act that violates the law of the Sabbath also violates the law of a festival, except that one may prepare food on a festival but not on the Sabbath.[23]

Reading the words “everyone who profanes [the Sabbath] shall surely be put to death” in Exodus 31:14 (in which the verb for death is doubled), Samuel deduced that the Torah decreed many deaths for desecrating the Sabbath. The Gemara posited that perhaps Exodus 31:14 refers to willful desecration. The Gemara answered that Exodus 31:14 is not needed to teach that willful transgression of the Sabbath is a capital crime, for Exodus 35:2 says, “Whoever does any work therein shall be put to death.” The Gemara concluded that Exodus 31:14 thus must apply to an unwitting offender, and in that context, the words “shall surely be put to death” mean that the inadvertent Sabbath violator will “die” monetarily because of the violator’s need to bring costly sacrifices.[24]

A Baraita read the words “You shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the Sabbath day” in Exodus 35:3 to teach that only on the Sabbath is kindling fire prohibited, and one may kindle fire on a Festival day, including for purposes other than food preparation.[25]

The High Priest wearing his breastplate (illustration circa 1861–1880 from The History of Costume by Braun and Schneider)

Rav Huna and Rav Chisda reconciled the prohibition of kindling fire on the Sabbath in Exodus 35:3 with the priests’ sacrificial duties. The Mishnah taught that the priests could lower the Passover sacrifice into the oven just before nightfall (and leave it to roast on the Sabbath), and the priests could light the fire with chips in the pile in the Temple chamber of the hearth (just before nightfall).[26] Interpreting this Mishnah, Rav Huna cited the prohibition of Exodus 35:3: “You shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations.” Rav Huna argued that since Exodus 35:3 says only “throughout your habitations,” the priests could kindle the pile in the Temple chamber of the hearth (even on the Sabbath). Rav Chisda demurred from Rav Huna’s argument, as it would allow kindling even on the Sabbath. Rather, Rav Chisda taught that Exodus 35:3 permits only the burning of the limbs and the fat (of animals sacrificed on Friday before nightfall). Rav Chisda explained that this burning was allowed because the priests were very particular (in their observance of the Sabbath and would not stoke the fire after nightfall).[27]

The Gemara told that Rav Joseph’s wife used to kindle the Sabbath lights late (just before nightfall). Rav Joseph told her that it was taught in a Baraita that the words of Exodus 13:22, “the pillar of cloud by day, and the pillar of fire by night, departed not,” teach that the pillar of cloud overlapped the pillar of fire, and the pillar of fire overlapped the pillar of cloud. So she thought of lighting the Sabbath lights very early. But an elder told her that one may kindle when one chooses, provided that one does not light too early (as it would not evidently honor the Sabbath) or too late (later than just before nightfall).[28]

A Baraita taught that a disciple in the name of Rabbi Ishmael noted that the words “in all your dwellings” (בְּכֹל מֹשְׁבֹתֵיכֶם, b’chol moshvoteichem) appear both in the phrase, “You shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the Sabbath day,” in Exodus 35:3 and in the phrase, “these things shall be for a statute of judgment unto you throughout your generations in all your dwellings,” in Numbers 35:29. The Baraita reasoned from this similar usage that just as the law prohibits kindling fire at home, so the law also prohibits kindling fire in the furtherance of criminal justice. And thus, since some executions require kindling a fire, the Baraita taught that the law prohibits executions on the Sabbath.[29]

Rabbi Hama bar Hanina interpreted the words “the plaited (שְּׂרָד, serad) garments for ministering in the holy place” in Exodus 35:19 to teach that but for the priestly garments described in Exodus 28 (and the atonement achieved by the garments or the priests who wore them), no remnant (שָׂרִיד, sarid) of the Jews would have survived.[30]

Things that Were Made To Go into the Tabernacle (illustration from the 1897 Bible Pictures and What They Teach Us by Charles Foster)

Rabbi Levi read Exodus 26:28, regarding “the middle bar in the midst of the boards, which shall pass through from end to end,” calculated that the beam must have been 32 cubits in length, and asked where the Israelites would find such a beam in the desert. Rabbi Levi deduced that the Israelites had stored up the cedar to construct the Tabernacle since the days of Jacob. Thus Exodus 35:24 reports, “And every man, with whom was found acacia-wood,” not “with whom would be found acacia-wood.” Rabbi Levi taught that the Israelites cut the trees down in Magdala of the Dyers near Tiberias and brought them with them to Egypt, and no knot or crack was found in them.[31]

The Rabbis taught in a Baraita that the Tabernacle’s lower curtains were made of blue wool, purple wool, crimson wool, and fine linen, while the upper curtains that made the tent spread were made of goats’ hair. And they taught that the upper curtains required greater skill than the lower, for Exodus 35:25 says of the lower ones, “And all the women that were wise-hearted did spin with their hands,” while Exodus 35:26 says of the upper ones, “And all the women whose heart stirred them up in wisdom spun the goats.” It was taught in Rabbi Nehemiah's name that the hair was washed on the goats and spun while still on the goats.[32]

Bezalel (watercolor circa 1896–1902 by James Tissot)

Rabbi Isaac deduced from Exodus 35:30 that we must not appoint a leader over a community without first consulting the community. In Exodus 35:30, Moses said to the Israelites: “See, the Lord has called by name Bezalel, the son of Uri.” Rabbi Isaac read Exodus 35:30 to indicate that God asked Moses whether Moses considered Bezalel suitable. Moses replied that if God thought Bezalel suitable, then surely Moses would have to, as well. God told Moses nonetheless to go and consult the Israelites. Moses asked the Israelites whether they considered Bezalel suitable. And they replied that if God and Moses considered him suitable, surely they had to, as well. Rabbi Johanan taught that God proclaims three things for God’s Self: famine, plenty, and a good leader. 2 Kings 8:1 shows that God proclaims famine, when it says: “The Lord has called for a famine.” Ezekiel 36:29 shows that God proclaims plenty, when it says: “I will call for the corn and will increase it.” And Exodus 31:1–2 shows that God proclaims a good leader, when it says: “And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘See I have called by name Bezalel, the son of Uri.’” Rabbi Samuel bar Nahmani said in the name of Rabbi Johanan that Bezalel (בְּצַלְאֵל, whose name can be read בְּצֵל אֶל, betzel El, “in the shadow of God”) was so called because of his wisdom. When God told Moses (in Exodus 31:7) to tell Bezalel to make a tabernacle, an ark, and vessels, Moses reversed the order and told Bezalel to make an ark, vessels, and a tabernacle. Bezalel replied to Moses that as a rule, one first builds a house and then brings vessels into it, but Moses directed to make an ark, vessels, and a tabernacle. Bezalel asked where he would put the vessels. And Bezalel asked whether God had told Moses to make a tabernacle, an ark, and vessels. Moses replied that perhaps Bezalel had been in the shadow of God (בְּצֵל אֶל, betzel El) and had thus come to know this.[33]

Rabbi Tanhuma taught in the name of Rav Huna that even the things that Bezalel did not hear from Moses he conceived of on his own exactly as they were told to Moses from Sinai. Rabbi Tanhuma said in the name of Rav Huna that one can deduce this from the words of Exodus 38:22, “And Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, made all that the Lord commanded Moses.” For Exodus 38:22 does not say, “that Moses commanded him,” but, “that the Lord commanded Moses.”[34]

And the Agadat Shir ha-Shirim taught that Bezalel and Oholiab went up Mount Sinai, where the heavenly Sanctuary was shown to them.[35]

Reading the words, “see, the Lord has called by name Bezalel,” in Exodus 35:30, a Midrash explained that Israel sinned with fire in making the Golden Calf, as Exodus 32:24 says, “And I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf.” And then Bezalel came and healed the wound (and the construction of the Tabernacle made atonement for the sins of the people in making the Golden Calf). The Midrash likened it to the words of Isaiah 54:16, “Behold, I have created the smith who blows the fire of coals.” The Midrash taught that Bezalel was the smith whom God had created to address the fire. And the Midrash likened it to the case of a doctor's disciple who applied a plaster to a wound and healed it. When people began to praise him, his teacher, the doctor, said that they should praise the doctor, for he taught the disciple. Similarly, when everybody said that Bezalel had constructed the Tabernacle through his knowledge and understanding, God said that it was God who created him and taught him, as Isaiah 54:16 says, “Behold, I have created the smith.” Thus Moses said in Exodus 35:30, “see, the Lord has called by name Bezalel.”[36]

Exodus 35:30 identifies Bezalel’s grandfather as Hur, whom either Rav or Samuel deduced was the son of Miriam and Caleb.[37] A Midrash explained that Exodus 35:30 mentions Hur because when the Israelites were about to serve the Golden Calf, Hur risked his life on God's behalf to prevent them from doing so, and they killed him. Whereupon God assured Hur that God would repay him for his sacrifice. The Midrash likened it to the case of a king whose legions rebelled against him, and his field marshal fought against the rebels, questioning how they could dare rebel against the king. In the end, the rebels killed the field marshal. The king reasoned that if the field marshal had given the king money, the king would have had to repay him. So even more so the king had an obligation to repay the field marshal when he gave his life on the king’s behalf. The king rewarded the field marshal by ordaining that all his male offspring would become generals and officers. Similarly, when Israel made the Golden Calf, Hur gave his life for the glory of God. Thus God assured Hur that God would give all Hur’s descendants a great name in the world. And thus Exodus 35:30 says, “see, the Lord has called by name Bezalel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur.”[38]

Rav Judah taught in the name of Rav that Exodus 35:31 indicated that God endowed Bezalel with the same attribute that God used in creating the universe. Rav Judah said in the name of Rav that Bezalel knew how to combine the letters by which God created the heavens and earth. For Exodus 35:31 says (about Bezalel), “And He has filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom and in understanding, and in knowledge,” and Proverbs 3:19 says (about creation), “The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding He established the heavens,” and Proverbs 3:20 says, “By His knowledge the depths were broken up.”[39]

Exodus chapter 36[edit]

Doing the math implied by Exodus 36:4, Exodus 38:22, Joshua 14:7, and 1 Chronicles 2:19–20, the Gemara deduced that in earlier generations, a boy of eight could father children. Exodus 38:22 reports that “Bezalel, son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, made all that the Lord had commanded Moses,” when they built the Tabernacle. And 1 Chronicles 2:19–20 reports that Caleb fathered the Hur who fathered Uri who fathered Bezalel. Exodus 36:4 reports that “wise men . . . wrought all the work of the Sanctuary,” so Bezalel must have been at least 13 years old to have been a man when he worked on the Tabernacle. A Baraita taught that Moses made the Tabernacle in the first year after the Exodus, and in the second, he erected it and sent out the spies, so the Gemara deduced that Bezalel must have been at least 14 years old when Moses sent out the spies, the year after Bezalel worked on the Tabernacle. And Joshua 14:7 reports that Caleb said that he was 40 years old when Moses sent him to spy out the land. Thus, the Gemara deduced that Caleb was only 26 years older than his great-grandson Bezalel. Deducting two years for the three pregnancies needed to create the three intervening generations, the Gemara concluded that each of Caleb, Hur, and Uri must have conceived his son at the age of eight.[40]

Bezalel made the Ark (1984 illustration by Jim Padgett, courtesy of Sweet Publishing)

Exodus chapter 37[edit]

A Midrash taught that the righteous learn from God’s example in creating the world that in beginning any work they should start with light. Thus when God told Moses to build the Tabernacle, Bezalel pondered with what thing he should begin. He concluded that he had better start with the Ark (in which the Israelites would deposit the Torah, the light of the world). And thus Exodus 37:1 commences the report of the construction of the Tabernacle’s furnishings, “And Bezalel made the Ark.”[41]

The Ark of the Covenant (2010 digital image by BRBurton)

Similarly, a Midrash taught that when God told Moses to make the Tabernacle, he came to Bezalel and conveyed the command, and Bezalel asked what the purpose of the Tabernacle was. Moses replied that it was so that God might make God’s Shechinah to dwell there and teach the Torah to Israel. Bezalel then asked where the Israelites would keep the Torah. Moses replied that when they had made the Tabernacle, they would then make the Ark. Then Bezalel said that since it would not be fitting for the Torah to be without a home, they should first make the Ark and then the Tabernacle. On that account, Exodus 37:1 associates Bezalel’s name with the Ark, saying, “And Bezalel made the Ark.”[42]

Reading the words, “Bezalel made the Ark of acacia-wood,” in Exodus 37:1, a Midrash taught that God heals with the very thing with which God wounds. Thus, Israel sinned in Shittim (so called because of its many acacia trees), as Numbers 25:1 says, “And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit harlotry with the daughters of Moab” (and also worshipped the Baal of Peor). But it was also through Shittim wood, or acacia-wood, that God healed the Israelites, for as Exodus 37:1 reports, “Bezalel made the Ark of acacia-wood.”[43]

The Brass Laver (1984 illustration by Jim Padgett, courtesy of Sweet Publishing)

Exodus chapter 38[edit]

A Midrash explained the mirrors of the women who “performed tasks” (הַצֹּבְאֹת, ha-tzovot) at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting in Exodus 38:8. The Midrash told that when the Israelites were suffering hard labor in Egypt, Pharaoh decreed that they should not sleep at home or have sexual relations with their wives. Rabbi Shimon ben Halafta told that the Israelite women would go down to draw water from the river, whereupon God caused them to draw up small fish in their pitchers. The Israelite women would sell some of the fish, cook some of them, buy wine with the proceeds, and go out to the work fields to feed their husbands. After they had eaten, the Israelite women took their mirrors and looked into them together with their husbands. The wives would say that they were better looking than the husbands. The husbands would say that they were better looking. And in this way, they aroused their sexual desire and became fruitful and multiplied, as Exodus 1:7 reports, “And the children of Israel were fruitful and swarmed and multiplied and became exceedingly mighty.” It was through the use of these mirrors that the Israelites were able to continue to have children even under the demands of harsh labor. When God told Moses to make the Tabernacle, all of the men came to contribute. Some brought silver, some brought gold or brass, onyx, and other gems to be set. They readily brought everything. The women brought the mirrors and presented them to Moses. When Moses saw the mirrors, he was furious with the women, saying that whoever brought the mirrors should be punished, asking what possible use they could have in the Tabernacle. God told Moses not to look down on them, for it was those mirrors that raised up all of the hosts of children born in Egypt. God thus directed Moses to take them and make from them the washbasin and its base for the priests.[44]

Moses Maimonides

Commandments[edit]

According to Maimonides and Sefer ha-Chinuch, there is one negative commandment in the parashah:[45]

  • The court must not inflict punishment on the Sabbath.[46]

Liturgy[edit]

Following the Kabbalat Shabbat prayer service and prior to the Friday evening (Ma'ariv) service, Jews traditionally read rabbinic sources on the observance of the Sabbath, starting with Mishnah Shabbat 2:5. Mishnah Shabbat 2:5, in turn, interprets the laws of kindling lights in Exodus 35:3.[47]

Haftarah[edit]

Solomon's Temple (2005 drawing by Mattes)

Parashah Vayakhel[edit]

When parashah Vayakhel is read alone (as it is in 2014), the haftarah is:

Ashkenazi – 1 Kings 7:40–50[edit]

Both the parashah and the haftarah in 1 Kings 7 report the leader’s erection of the holy place, Moses’ building of the Tabernacle in the parashah,[48] and Solomon’s building of the Temple in Jerusalem in the haftarah.[49] Both the parashah and the haftarah note particular metals for the holy space.[50]

Sephardi – 1 Kings 7:13–26[edit]

Both the parashah and the haftarah note the skill (chokhmah), ability (tevunah), and knowledge (da‘at), of the artisan (Bezalel in the parashah, Hiram in the haftarah) in every craft (kol mela’khah).[51]

Shabbat Shekalim[edit]

When Parashah Vayakhel coincides with the special Sabbath Shabbat Shekalim, (as it does in 2016 and 2019), the haftarah is 2 Kings 12:1–17.

Parashah Vayakhel–Pekudei[edit]

When parashah Vayakhel is combined with parashah Pekudei, the haftarah is:

Ezekiel (1510 fresco by Michelangelo at the Sistine Chapel)

Shabbat HaChodesh[edit]

When the parashah coincides with Shabbat HaChodesh ("Sabbath [of] the month," the special Sabbath preceding the Hebrew month of Nissan – as it does in 2013 and 2017), the haftarah is:

On Shabbat HaChodesh, Jews read Exodus 12:1–20, in which God commands that “This month [Nissan] shall be the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year,”[52] and in which God issued the commandments of Passover.[53] Similarly, the haftarah in Ezekiel 45:21–25 discusses Passover. In both the special reading and the haftarah, God instructs the Israelites to apply blood to doorposts.[54]

Shabbat Parah[edit]

When the parashah coincides with Shabbat Parah (one of the special Sabbaths prior to Passover – as it does in 2012, 2015, and 2018), the haftarah is:

On Shabbat Parah, the Sabbath of the red heifer, Jews read Numbers 19:1–22, which describes the rites of purification using the red heifer (parah adumah). Similarly, the haftarah in Ezekiel 36 also describes purification. In both the special reading and the haftarah in Ezekiel 36, sprinkled water cleansed the Israelites.[55]

Further reading[edit]

The parashah has parallels or is discussed in these sources:

Ancient[edit]

Biblical[edit]

Philo

Early nonrabbinic[edit]

Classical rabbinic[edit]

  • Mekhilta According to Rabbi Ishmael 82:1. Land of Israel, late 4th century. Reprinted in, e.g., Mekhilta According to Rabbi Ishmael. Translated by Jacob Neusner, volume 2, pages 258–62. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1988. ISBN 1-55540-237-2.
  • Jerusalem Talmud: Terumot 31b; Beitzah 47a; Sanhedrin 27b. Land of Israel, circa 400 CE. Reprinted in, e.g., Talmud Yerushalmi. Edited by Chaim Malinowitz, Yisroel Simcha Schorr, and Mordechai Marcus, volumes 7, 23. Brooklyn: Mesorah Publications, 2010–2012.
Talmud

Medieval[edit]

Rashi
  • Exodus Rabbah 48:1–50:5. 10th century. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Exodus. Translated by S. M. Lehrman, volume 3, pages 546–61. London: Soncino Press, 1939. ISBN 0-900689-38-2.
  • Solomon ibn Gabirol. A Crown for the King, 9:105–06. Spain, 11th century. Translated by David R. Slavitt, pages 14–15. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. ISBN 0-19-511962-2.
  • Rashi. Commentary. Exodus 35–38. Troyes, France, late 11th century. Reprinted in, e.g., Rashi. The Torah: With Rashi's Commentary Translated, Annotated, and Elucidated. Translated and annotated by Yisrael Isser Zvi Herczeg, volume 2, pages 487–505. Brooklyn: Mesorah Publications, 1994. ISBN 0-89906-027-7.
  • Rashbam. Commentary on the Torah. Troyes, early 12th century. Reprinted in, e.g., Rashbam’s Commentary on Exodus: An Annotated Translation. Edited and translated by Martin I. Lockshin, pages 425–29. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1997. ISBN 0-7885-0225-5.
Nachmanides
  • Abraham ibn Ezra. Commentary on the Torah. France, 1153. Reprinted in, e.g., Ibn Ezra's Commentary on the Pentateuch: Exodus (Shemot). Translated and annotated by H. Norman Strickman and Arthur M. Silver, volume 2, pages 730–46. New York: Menorah Publishing Company, 1996. ISBN 0-932232-08-6.
  • Hezekiah ben Manoah. Hizkuni. France, circa 1240. Reprinted in, e.g., Chizkiyahu ben Manoach. Chizkuni: Torah Commentary. Translated and annotated by Eliyahu Munk, volume 3, pages 645–50. Jerusalem: Ktav Publishers, 2013. ISBN 978-1-60280-261-2.
  • Nachmanides. Commentary on the Torah. Jerusalem, circa 1270. Reprinted in, e.g., Ramban (Nachmanides): Commentary on the Torah. Translated by Charles B. Chavel, volume 2, pages 595–608. New York: Shilo Publishing House, 1973. ISBN 0-88328-007-8.
The Zohar
  • Zohar 2:194b–220a. Spain, late 13th century.
  • Bahya ben Asher. Commentary on the Torah. Spain, early 14th century. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbeinu Bachya: Torah Commentary by Rabbi Bachya ben Asher. Translated and annotated by Eliyahu Munk, volume 4, pages 1418–38. Jerusalem: Lambda Publishers, 2003. ISBN 965-7108-45-4.
  • Jacob ben Asher (Baal Ha-Turim). Commentary on the Torah. Early 14th century. Reprinted in, e.g., Baal Haturim Chumash: Shemos/Exodus. Translated by Eliyahu Touger; edited and annotated by Avie Gold, volume 2, pages 929–57. Brooklyn: Mesorah Publications, 2000. ISBN 1-57819-129-7.
  • Isaac ben Moses Arama. Akedat Yizhak (The Binding of Isaac). Late 15th century. Reprinted in, e.g., Yitzchak Arama. Akeydat Yitzchak: Commentary of Rabbi Yitzchak Arama on the Torah. Translated and condensed by Eliyahu Munk, volume 1, pages 519–35. New York, Lambda Publishers, 2001. ISBN 965-7108-30-6.

Modern[edit]

Hirsch
Luzzatto
Cassuto
  • Umberto Cassuto. A Commentary on the Book of Exodus. Jerusalem, 1951. Translated by Israel Abrahams, pages 452–68. Jerusalem: The Magnes Press, The Hebrew University, 1967.
  • Abraham Joshua Heschel. The Sabbath. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1951. Reprinted 2005. ISBN 0-374-52975-2.
  • Morris Adler. The World of the Talmud, pages 28–29. B'nai B'rith Hillel Foundations, 1958. Reprinted Kessinger Publishing, 2007. ISBN 0-548-08000-3.
  • Elie Munk. The Call of the Torah: An Anthology of Interpretation and Commentary on the Five Books of Moses. Translated by E.S. Mazer, volume 2, pages 505–29. Brooklyn: Mesorah Publications, 1995. ISBN 0-89906-042-0. Originally published as La Voix de la Thora. Paris: Fondation Samuel et Odette Levy, 1981.
  • Craig R. Koester. Dwelling of God: The Tabernacle in the Old Testament, Intertestamental Jewish Literature, and the New Testament. Washington: Catholic Biblical Association of America, 1989. ISBN 0-915170-21-3.
  • Nahum M. Sarna. The JPS Torah Commentary: Exodus: The Traditional Hebrew Text with the New JPS Translation, pages 222–31. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1991. ISBN 0-8276-0327-4.
  • Nehama Leibowitz. New Studies in Shemot (Exodus), volume 2, pages 644–88. Jerusalem: Haomanim Press, 1993. Reprinted as New Studies in the Weekly Parasha. Lambda Publishers, 2010. ISBN 965-524-038-X.
  • Judith S. Antonelli. “Women’s Wisdom.” In In the Image of God: A Feminist Commentary on the Torah, pages 221–30. Northvale, New Jersey: Jason Aronson, 1995. ISBN 1-56821-438-3.
  • Nancy H. Wiener. “Of Women and Mirrors.” In The Women's Torah Commentary: New Insights from Women Rabbis on the 54 Weekly Torah Portions. Edited by Elyse Goldstein, pages 172–78. Woodstock, Vermont: Jewish Lights Publishing, 2000. ISBN 1-58023-076-8.
  • Alan Lew. This Is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared: The Days of Awe as a Journey of Transformation, pages 53–55. Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 2003. ISBN 0-316-73908-1.
Plaut
Sacks

External links[edit]

Old book bindings.jpg

Texts[edit]

Commentaries[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Torah Stats — Shemoth". Akhlah Inc. Retrieved March 2, 2013. 
  2. ^ See, e.g., The Schottenstein Edition Interlinear Chumash: Shemos/Exodus. Edited by Menachem Davis, pages 263–80. Brooklyn: Mesorah Publications, 2008. ISBN 1-4226-0204-4.
  3. ^ Exodus 35:1–3.
  4. ^ Exodus 35:4–9.
  5. ^ Exodus 35:10–19.
  6. ^ Exodus 35:21–29.
  7. ^ Exodus 35:30–35.
  8. ^ Exodus 36:1–2.
  9. ^ Exodus 36:3–7.
  10. ^ Exodus 36:8–19.
  11. ^ Exodus 36:20–38.
  12. ^ Exodus 37:1–16.
  13. ^ Exodus 37:17–29.
  14. ^ Exodus 38:1–20.
  15. ^ For more on inner-Biblical interpretation, see, e.g., Benjamin D. Sommer. “Inner-biblical Interpretation.” In The Jewish Study Bible. Edited by Adele Berlin and Marc Zvi Brettler, pages 1829–35. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. ISBN 0-19-529751-2.
  16. ^ Numbers 15:34.
  17. ^ Numbers 15:35–36.
  18. ^ Josephus. Antiquities of the Jews book 3, chapter 6, paragraph 1, clause 104. Circa 93–94. Reprinted in, e.g., The Works of Josephus: Complete and Unabridged, New Updated Edition. Translated by William Whiston, page 86. Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 1987. ISBN 0-913573-86-8.
  19. ^ Mekhilta 82:1:1. Land of Israel, late 4th century. Reprinted in, e.g., Mekhilta According to Rabbi Ishmael. Translated by Jacob Neusner, volume 2, pages 258–62. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1988. ISBN 1-55540-237-2.
  20. ^ Babylonian Talmud Shabbat 97b. Babylonia, 6th century.
  21. ^ Babylonian Talmud Shabbat 49b.
  22. ^ Mishnah Shabbat 1:1–24:5. Land of Israel, circa 200 CE. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, pages 179–208. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988. ISBN 0-300-05022-4. Tosefta Shabbat 1:1–17:29. Land of Israel, circa 300 CE. Reprinted in, e.g., The Tosefta: Translated from the Hebrew, with a New Introduction. Translated by Jacob Neusner, volume 1, pages 357–427. Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 2002. ISBN 1-56563-642-2. Jerusalem Talmud Shabbat 1a–113b. Land of Israel, circa 400 CE. Reprinted in, e.g., Talmud Yerushalmi. Elucidated by Yehuda Jaffa, Gershon Hoffman, Mordechai Smilowitz, Abba Zvi Naiman, Chaim Ochs, and Mendy Wachsman; edited by Chaim Malinowitz, Yisroel Simcha Schorr, and Mordechai Marcus, volumes 13–15. Brooklyn: Mesorah Publications, 2013. Babylonian Talmud Shabbat 2a–157b. Reprinted in, e.g., Koren Talmud Bavli: Tractate Shabbat. Commentary by Adin Even-Israel (Steinsaltz), volumes 2–3. Jerusalem: Koren Publishers, 2012.
  23. ^ Mishnah Beitzah 5:2. Babylonian Talmud Beitzah 36b. See also Mishnah Megillah 1:5. Babylonian Talmud Megillah 7b.
  24. ^ Babylonian Talmud Shabbat 70a.
  25. ^ Jerusalem Talmud Beitzah 47a. See also Mekhilta 82:1:9.
  26. ^ Mishnah Shabbat 1:11; Babylonian Talmud Shabbat 19b.
  27. ^ Babylonian Talmud Shabbat 20a.
  28. ^ Babylonian Talmud Shabbat 23b.
  29. ^ Babylonian Talmud Yevamot 6b–7a.
  30. ^ Babylonian Talmud Yoma 72a–b.
  31. ^ Genesis Rabbah 94:4. Land of Israel, 5th century. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Genesis. Translated by H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, volume 2, page 871. London: Soncino Press, 1939. ISBN 0-900689-38-2.
  32. ^ Babylonian Talmud Shabbat 99a.
  33. ^ Babylonian Talmud Berakhot 55a. Reprinted in, e.g., Koren Talmud Bavli: Berakhot. Commentary by Adin Even-Israel (Steinsaltz), volume 1, page 356. Jerusalem: Koren Publishers, 2012. ISBN 965-301-563-0.
  34. ^ Jerusalem Talmud Peah 5a. Reprinted in, e.g., Talmud Yerushalmi. Elucidated by Feivel Wahl, Henoch Moshe Levin, Menachem Goldberger, Avrohom Neuberger, Mendy Wachsman, Michoel Weiner, and Abba Zvi Naiman; edited by Chaim Malinowitz, Yisroel Simcha Schorr, and Mordechai Marcus, volume 3, page 5a2. Brooklyn: Mesorah Publications, 2006. ISBN 1-4226-0236-2.
  35. ^ Agadat Shir ha-Shirim 5, 36–37. Quoted in Louis Ginzberg. Legends of the Jews, volume 6, page 63. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1928.
  36. ^ Exodus Rabbah 48:5.
  37. ^ Babylonian Talmud Sotah 11b.
  38. ^ Exodus Rabbah 48:3.
  39. ^ Babylonian Talmud Berakhot 55a. Reprinted in, e.g., Koren Talmud Bavli: Berakhot. Commentary by Adin Even-Israel (Steinsaltz), volume 1, page 357.
  40. ^ Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 69b. Reprinted in, e.g., Talmud Bavli. Elucidated by Michoel Weiner and Asher Dicker; edited by Yisroel Simcha Schorr and Chaim Malinowitz, volume 48, page 69b4–5. Brooklyn: Mesorah Publications, 1994. ISBN 1-57819-630-2.
  41. ^ Exodus Rabbah 50:1.
  42. ^ Exodus Rabbah 50:2.
  43. ^ Exodus Rabbah 50:3.
  44. ^ Midrash Tanhuma Pekudei 9. 6th–7th century. Reprinted in, e.g., Metsudah Midrash Tanchuma. Translated and annotated by Avraham Davis; edited by Yaakov Y.H. Pupko, Shemos volume 2, pages 437–41. Monsey, New York: Eastern Book Press, 2006.
  45. ^ See, e.g., Maimonides. The Commandments: Sefer Ha-Mitzvoth of Maimonides. Translated by Charles B. Chavel, volume 2, page 297. London: Soncino Press, 1967. ISBN 0-900689-71-4. Sefer HaHinnuch: The Book of [Mitzvah] Education. Translated by Charles Wengrov, volume 1, pages 431–33. Jerusalem: Feldheim Publishers, 1991. ISBN 0-87306-179-9.
  46. ^ Exodus 35:3.
  47. ^ Reuven Hammer. Or Hadash: A Commentary on Siddur Sim Shalom for Shabbat and Festivals, page 25. New York: The Rabbinical Assembly, 2003. ISBN 0-916219-20-8.
  48. ^ Exodus 35:4–38:20.
  49. ^ 1 Kings 7:40–50.
  50. ^ Exodus 35:5; 1 Kings 7:45, 47–50.
  51. ^ Exodus 35:30–31; 1 Kings 7:14.
  52. ^ Exodus 12:2.
  53. ^ Exodus 12:3–20.
  54. ^ Exodus 12:7; Ezekiel 45:19.
  55. ^ Numbers 19:18; Ezekiel 36:25.