Parashat Pekudei פְקוּדֵי

Moshe provided Bnei-Yisrael a precise accounting of the Tabernacle donations and content; this Tabernacle is a testimony that HaShem forgave Bnei-Yisrael. Essentially, Moshe provided an accurate “ledger” of all that was donated for the Mishkan (hence in todays synagogues/temples etc, we must do the same). Such an accounting provides a profound teaching for our own lives, as we must account for all that we give and do, as one day we too must account for our deeds. It is also a lesson in keeping accounting in our business, as one must have accurate accounts for all income and expenses. Moshe was placing the tribe of Levi and Itamar, Aharon’s son, in charge of this accounting of gold and other donations. There is a hidden code within the three words “the Tabernacle”, “Tabernacle” and “the Testimony”. Each word represents a value in Gematria that is equivalent to each Mishkan and the number of years each Bait Hamikdash existed.
  1. The word “משכן” “Mishkan” in gematria 410 – represents the first Beit-HaMikdash which stood for 410 years in Jerusalem.
  2. The word “המשכן” “HaMishkan” in gematria 415 – represents the second Beit-HaMikdash which stood for 420 years Jerusalem along with the 5 letters of the word Mishpatim.
  3. The word “העדת” “HaEdut” in gematria 479 – represents the Mishkan which stood for 479 years in the desert and Israel.
The numerical value of the letter “H” (“ה”) in the word “HaMishkan” (“המשכן”) is 5, representing the five items that will be missing from the second Beit-HaMikdash, that were hidden by King Solomon (“המלך שלמה”) who knew of its destruction. These five items were missing in the second Beit-HaMikdash:
  1. The ארון – Ark
  2. The מנורה – Menorah
  3. The אש התמיד – Heavenly Fire (descending on the Alter)
  4. The רוח הקודש – Ruach Hakodesh that caused the אורים ותומים Urim & Tumim to respond to the Kohen’s question
  5. The הכרובים – Two Cherubs (male & female angelic figures) 
The Zohar teaches that the first verse represents several divine understandings; the first word “Ele” (“אֵלֶּה“) represents all the rivers (souls) that are pouring into the sea; the word “Pekudei” (“פְקוּדֵי”) represents the sea (heaven) receiving all the rivers, yet never getting filled; the word “HaMishkan” (“הַמִּשְׁכָּן“) represents the beginning world of “Bri’ah” (“בריאה”), creation out of nothing as HaShem performed in Bersesheet, as He created everything until Adam; the word “Mishkan” (“מִּשְׁכָּן”) represents the world of “Yetzirah” (“יצירה”), creation out of something like creating Adam from earth; and the word “HaEdut” (“הָעֵדֻת“) represents the world of “Asiya” (“עשיה”), making/doing as we are doing Mitzvot, in this case building of the Mishkan. Just as the sea does not get filled from the rivers, so too our Neshamah is not fulfilled without Mitzvot and having the Beit-HaMikdash rebuilt.
The Mishkan was completed on 23rd of Adar and was ready for Rosh Chodesh Nissan, the first day of Nissan (“ראש חודש ניסן”). Rosh Chodesh Nissan is known as the Rosh HaShanah LaMelachim, the new year of Kings, as each of Israel’s kingship was counted from the first day of Nissan. Regardless of when a king/kingdom started, when they reached Rosh Chodesh Nissan they started counting it as the first year. This is the same date when HaShem told Bnei-Yisrael to get ready for redemption. This is the “beginning of the year” according to the Torah, and now the Mishkan is ready for Bnei-Yisrael to use. HaShem provided Bnei-Yisrael with a spiritual freedom with the Mishkan, and physical freedom from Egypt on the same date. 
It is worth mentioning here that Rabbi Nachman (from Uman) was born on Rosh Chodesh Nissan, 1772, and passed away on October 16, 1810. Rabbi Nachman of Uman, also known as Rabbi Nachman of Breslev (רבי נחמן מברסלב). Reb Nachman of Breslev was the founder of the Breslev Hasidic movement. Rabbi Nachman was the great-grandson of the Baal Shem Tov,  who breathed new life into the Hasidic movement by combining the esoteric secrets of Judaism (the Kabbalah) with in-depth Torah scholarship. He had eight children and revived hundreds of thousands of “lost” Jewish souls to do Teshuvah and continue his divine ways to date with חב”ד Chabad. Today (5777) חב”ד is in over 86 countries worldwide with over 3,500 Chabad institutions.
Moshe audited all the Tabernacle’s materials and vessels, stating that Betzalel and Oholiav built all the vessels precisely according to HaShem’s commandments. This comes to teach us that even holy items that the Torah did not describe as how they were made, HaShem taught and showed Moshe on Mount Sinai, and they were made exactly as Hashem instructed (in a sense: videos, youtube and images in the “cloud”, all existed before). The Midrash tells us that Moshe wanted to share the Mitzvah of building the Mishkan with his sons, but HaShem told him that Betzalel and Oholiav will do so instead. HaShem rewarded Moshe with all the secrets and full knowledge of how to build the Mishkan and all its holy vessels. HaShem also awarded Moshe with erecting the Mishkan later on by himself as it is written (verse 49:18), “and Moshe erected up the tabernacle” (“וַיָּקֶם מֹשֶׁה אֶת-הַמִּשְׁכָּן”). Moshe also placed each and every vessel and the entire contents of the tabernacle in its correct Divine location in the tabernacle. 
Moshe provided a full accounting of all that was now in the Mishkan; in a sense providing Itamar with the responsibility for all that was given by Bnei-Yisrael. The word Mishkan has also the root of the “Mashkon” (“משכון” – collateral) to teach us that HaShem gave Bnei-Yisrael valuable collateral in the Mishkan, to be guarded and kept. This collateral provided Bnei-Yisrael with the Divine presence of HaShem among them; as HaShem dwelled among them (“Sochen” – “שוכן”), also from the word Mishkan. In this word we can also find the word “Shachen” (“שכן” – neighbor), as HaShem dwells among Bnei-Yisrael as a protective neighbor.
Being the “people of HaShem”, Bnei-Yisrael must have a “place” for Him to dwell among them, regardless of where they are at any given moment. While in the desert they had the Mishkan and while in Israel they had the Beit-HaMikdash. Even today when we are scattered all over the world we have a “place” for HaShem to dwell amongst us; in our homes, our Synagogues, our Yeshivot and our congregations. We know that one of Bilam’s curses of Bnei-Yisrael became a blessing. Bilam, who was hired by Balak to curse Bnei-Yisrael, said “Ma Tovu Ohalecha Yaakov Mishkenotecha Yisrael” (“מה טובו אוהליך יעקב מישכנותיך ישראל”), meaning “How good are your tents Yaakov” (your temples, Synagogues, Yeshivot where we study Torah), “Your dwellings of Yisrael” (the land of Israel). We are still blessed with such merits of having HaShem amongst us throughout the world and in our hearts. The word “Mishkenotecha” (“מישכנותיך”) comes to teach us about the traveling Mishkan as we are “traveling” all over the world, yet all the while keeping the Torah and keeping HaShem with us.
The Midrash teaches us that the Torah writes the word Mishkan twice in the first verse, to bless both the building of the Mishkan and even the destruction of the Beit-HaMikdash. We understand such odd blessing of destruction from the next word “Edut” (testimony), which means they will witness the building of the third and final Beit-HaMikdash. Moshe knew that one day when Beit-HaMikdash will be built, Bnei-Yisrael will come to “see” HaShem three times a year. Although we cannot really see HaShem, what we do see His constant miracles, just as Bnei-Yisrael saw the ten plagues, the opening of Yam Suf, the Mann and many other miracles during their journeys in the desert, and now with the Mishkan and later on with Beir-HaMikdash.
We witness hundreds of miracles on a daily basis; waking up healthy every morning, giving birth, surviving accidents, winning wars, building the land of Israel after the holocaust, having Parnasah (livelihood), the prevention of billions of asteroids from crashing into earth, and many more. About 18 years ago during the holiday of Sukkot there was an amazing miracle by the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Almost twenty thousands Jews gathered at the Kotel to pray Shacharit. That morning the Arabs above the Kotel were plotting to kill hundreds (if not thousands) of Jews. The Arabs accumulated hundreds of heavy stones and rocks, all piled up above ready to be dumped and thrown on the Jews below. As the Kohanim finished their special blessing down below, the Arabs threw these heavy rocks and stones on the holy crowed. Miraculously, almost none of the Jews got hurt by the falling rocks. The Kohanim were just finishing their blessing with ”Yevarchecha HaShem VeYishmerecha” (“יברכך ה’ וישמרך”), meaning HaShem will bless and protect you…and it worked, instantly. Most of the miracles nowadays are “hidden miracles”, but this one was not. 
This Mishkan was a testimony to Bnei-Yisrael that HaShem forgave them for their Golden-Calf sin. Our Sages tell us that on the eighth day of Nissan, which called the “Milueem”, there was the official inauguration of the Mishkan. HaShem elevated Moshe to a position of a Kohen Gadol, along with Aaron, his sons, and the seventy elders who were all in the Mishkan to offer the first sacrifices to HaShem.  Moshe placed the tribe of Levi in charge of the Mishkan and all its vessels. He appointed Itamar as the person responsible for delegating all the tasks, as the chief operating officer. The Mishkan was to be traveling throughout the desert (and into Israel) and was to be built and dismantled often, as the Clouds of Glory rise above. Each person within the tribe of Levi had a specific task of doing all that was needed for the Mishkan.
Rashi teaches us that the Mishkan and Beit-HaMikdash were given to Bnei-Yisrael as collateral against future sins, as HaShem promised never again to destroy Bnei-Yisrael after the Mabul. In the event that Bnei-Yisrael sinned HaShem then will destroy the Mishkan and Beit-HaMikdash instead of them. Unfortunately, we did sin and Beit-HaMikdash was destroyed in order to save us. We know this to be true from the transgressions against HaShem’s thirty-six prohibitions, which is also the numerical value of the first word in the first verse, “אלה” (“Eleh” – and this are).
The Torah describes how Moshe provided detailed accounting of all that was donated in order to teach us the specific rules of “running” the Mishkan and our businesses, in general.
Below is the outcome of the donations and its meaningful teachings.
  1. The silver collected from Bnei-Yisrael was 100 “Kikar” (“אדנים”) and 1775 Shekels; this to allow for the counting of those twenty years old and older, totaling 603,550.
  2. The 100 “Kikar” of Silver are used for casting the 100 sockets of the holy Tabernacle (Mishkan) and the sockets of the partitions. 100 sockets were made from the 100 “Kikar”  and the other 100 sockets were made from the 1775 Shekels.
  3. The copper that was donated was 70 “Kiker” and equals 2400 Shekels; from that copper the sockets for the entrance, meeting tent, Copper Altar, utensils and the copper knitting were made.
  4. The Menorah made out of 1 “kikar” of gold.
  5. The Ark, the 48 beams were also coated in gold.
We learn that from the quantity of “Adanim” (“אדנים”) known as “Kikar” (“כיכר” – measurement), of 100, the teaching of King David that we must have at least one-hundred prayers/blessings each day, as we must thank HaShem at least 100 times a day, for all that He provides us with. In the “Shmone Esre” prayers (the “Amidah”) that we say every morning, there is the prayer of “Modim” (“מודים” – thanks and gratitude); the numerical value of the word “Modim” is 100, as we should thank HaShem 100 times a day. When Moshe appraised all that was donated, he did not have in mind an inventory list of sorts, but was actually designed to bless each vessel and its divine purpose just as HaShem counted Bnei-Yisrael. The word for vessels is “Kelim” (“כלים”), meaning the tools of the Mishkan; the numerical value of the word “Kelim” is 100, same as the 100 blessings King David set as the minimum number of daily prayers/blessings.
The Torah writes (verse 38:22 ) “Kol Asher Tzivah Adoni” (“כָּל-אֲשֶׁר-צִוָּה יְהוָה”) it is to teach us few important lessons about how every part was made exactly as HaShem intended it to be. Each of the items was blessed by HaShem in order to atone for all of Bnei-Yisrael’s sins. By using Hashem’s name “י-ה-ו-ה” (“Yud, Hai, Vov, Hai”) our sages teach us that there are 12 variations/words that can be used to bless the 12 months of the year.  We also learn that all of the twelve tribes participated in the building of the Mishkan. The numerical value of the word “Kol” (“כל”) is 50, same as the number of letters of the names of the tribes combined.
The acronym of the name of HaShem used as “י-ה-ו-ה” stands for: “ישמחו השמים ותגל הארץ”, meaning that now the Heavens are happy and the land celebrated with the building of the Mishkan.
Yod – ישמחו – Yismechu
Hai – השמים – Hashamaim
Vov – ותגל – Vetagel
Hai – הארץ- Haaretz
The amount of gold that was donated (verse 38:24) was not enough for all that was needed for the Mishkan: “All the gold that was used for the work in all the work of the sanctuary, even the gold of the offering, was twenty and nine measurement, and seven hundred and thirty shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary”. The Midrash tells us that Moshe made up the difference in order to supplement the amount needed to complete the items used with gold. Our sages tell us that the gold was created in the world only for this specific use of building the Mishkan, unfortunately it was misused for the Golden-Calf and now it is a common material. The word for gold in Hebrew is “Zahav” (“זהב”) and the acronym stands for “Zachu Betorat HaShem” (“זכו בתורת השם”), meaning Bnei-Yisrael merited HaShem’s Torah. The Gemara teaches us that just as the Mishkan was covered with gold inside and out, we too must behave as “gold” both inside and outside. The word “Zahav” can also spells the word “Bazah” (“בזה”), meaning disgraced; to teach us that when we do not use the gold (the Torah) for its intended purpose of holiness we will be in exile.
The word Mishkan (“מישכן”) comes from the word “MaShach” (“משך”), meaning pulled. HaShem with His magnificent and Divine powers, provides the world with a force called “Koach Meshicha” (“כח משיכה”), gravity, which is part of the word Mishkan, as the power of gravity provides all creatures on earth to be “pulled” towards the earthly “Mishkan” (earth) and not to be sucked into space. The presence of HaShem is referred to as “Shechinah” (“שכינה”), which has the same root as the word Mishkan and gravity. Moshe instructed Betzalel to make the garments and all the accessories for the Kohanim; the breastplate was made with four rows of the precious stones that were positioned just as the tribes were positioned in the camp and during their travels:
  1. The first row was: Red quartz, Emerald, and Yellow quartz.
  2. The second row was: Ruby, Sapphire, and Beryl.
  3. The third row was: Red zirconium Striped quartz, and Amethyst.
  4. The fourth row was: Yellow-Green Olivine,Onyx, and Jasper quartz.
Each stone was engraved with one of the twelve tribes’ names of Bnei-Yisrael, in the order of their birth. This specific placement of each stone provided the tribes with many special abilities and blessings in the future. This placement also provided the tribes with their exact location within the camp and for their travels. We know that when a leader of Bnei-Yisrael needed a specific answer from HaShem, he consulted with this breastplate, known as the “Urim and Tumim” (“אורים ותומים”), the Oracle, advice or prophecy was sought from HaShem. The “Urim and Tumim” were used as a divine oracle, and their meaning sometimes refers to revelation and truth, dreams and prophets. The Kohen Gadol (High Priest) and Moshe used the “Urim and Tumim” to get Divine answers for major decisions, such as going to war (it is worth mentioning here that the logo of Yale university, which was names after a rich Jewish donor name Elijah Yale, has the words “Urim and Tumim” in it; in Latin “Lux et Veritas” which translates to “Light and Truth”.
We learn that the Mishkan did not only help Bnei-Yisrael, but also the seventy other nations in the world at that time. The Torah writes (verse 39:42) “Like all that HaShem commanded Moshe so did Bnei-Yisrael”, using the word “Kechol” (“ככל” – as all other nations). The numerical value of the word “Kechol” is 70, as the 70 nations who also brought sacrifices to HaShem. As long as the Mishkan stood it helped all the nations of the world, as they too understood HaShem’s greatness.

Yoram Dahan

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