Pekudei (Exodus 38:21 – 40:38), Shabbat Shekalim (Exodus 30:11-16)

This week, we end the book of Exodus and start the pre-Passover season, with first of the four special Sabbaths (Shekalim, Zachor, Parah, and HaChodesh) that each require a second scroll reading and are intended to help us get in the right frame of mind for the holiday. We will also be anticipating the new month of Adar II (the sequel), Rosh Chodesh being Sunday and Monday. Actually, since Adar I is the one that occurs only in leap years, maybe we should instead call Adar I, the prequel. Anyhow, the special reading for Shabbat Shekalim is Exodus 30:11-16 about the census that was taken of the adult (20+) Israelites by means of a half-shekel donation – no one could give more, no one less.

Parashat Pekudei also begins with accounting, the careful tally of metals used in the construction of the Tabernacle, all the gold, silver, and copper, including those half-shekels that were collected for the census (38: 25-28. See, everything fits together…). Next, we read how Aaron’s elaborate vestments were made. Now, the Israelites’ work is finished: 39:42 “Just as the Lord had commanded Moses, so the Israelites had done all the work. 43 And when Moses saw that they had performed all the tasks — as the Lord had commanded, so they had done — Moses blessed them.” A massive job well-done and a well-earned blessing for the people. Echoes of the completion of Creation, though the Israelites probably took more than six days. Then the Lord gives Moses directions for the assembly of the Tabernacle and its accoutrements and the ordination of Aaron and his sons. On the first day of the first month (Nisan, not Tishrei) of the second year, Moses does so, though we won’t read about the ordination for a couple more weeks. Finally, the cloud-by-day and fire-by-night appear over the Tabernacle. Their movement would signal when the Israelites were to move onward.

According to Ramban (Nachmanides, 13th c.), the whole book of Exodus is the story of the first exile of the Jewish people (in Egypt) and their redemption from that exile (ArtScroll Series®, A Daily Dose of Torah, vol. 6, p. 183). How so? The Exodus from Egypt occurs only about a third of the way through the book. But Ramban points out that their redemption does not really come until they build the Tabernacle and the glory of the Lord fills it once the cloud covers it. And so ends the book of Exodus.

Shabbat shalom,



You might be an Accountant if…

you refer to your child as Deduction 214.

you deduct Exlax as “Moving expenses”.

you have no idea that GAP is also a clothing store.

at the movie Indecent Proposal you did a NPV* calculation.

getting to sleep is an exciting event that you look forward to all day long.

your idea of trashing your hotel room is refusing to fill out the guest comment card.

you are doing it now because you checked the file and found that you did it last year. y

ou decide to change your name to a symbol and you choose the double underline** “======”.

*Stands for Net Present Value (Don’t ask)

** A double underline means the bottom line. Literally.

Searching for an Accountant

A business owner tells her friend that she is desperately searching for an accountant.

Her friend asks, “Didn’t your company hire an accountant a short while ago?”

The business owner replies, “That’s the accountant I’ve been searching for.”

Budget: An orderly system for living beyond your means.


Memories about costuming, as sent out in 2007:

“I have often been (overly) conscious of playing roles in my life, especially around the age of 12 when I seemed to myself to be three distinct people (one each for school, home, and Hebrew School). Naturally, I was also interested in acting and indulged in some amateur theater years ago. I particularly enjoyed roles which required interesting costume – a black-and-white velvet Chesire Cat costume, a long flowing brocaded dress for Juliet (just one scene, not the whole play!). In grad school, I looked forward to wearing crimson academic regalia at graduation, only to find the rented ones were all black. At the synagogue, those of us who led Jr. Congregation services wore black robes until they were falling apart and, this being the late ’60’s, no one was interested in repairing them. I felt generally neutral about choir robes I wore on the High Holidays as an adult, except I loved dressing all in white and leading part of Yom Kippur services, (especially the confessional – very dramatic). My most memorable dress was – not my wedding dress, though that was sweet (and petite – a size 3 that had to be taken in), nor a particular red-and-white dress I wore on my first date with my future husband and later worn by my daughter, but my high school graduation dress. Students graduating from my school, the Philadelphia High School for Girls (still called that though they are legally required to allow boys to enroll) did not wear cap and gown. We wore our own white dresses and carried bouquets of red carnations. When mini dresses first came in, the seniors had to bring in their dresses ahead of time, put them on, and kneel before the vice principal. If the hem didn’t touch the floor, it was too short. By my year, they’d given up, and my dress was a lovely little white lace minidress. After graduation, I wore it on Yom Kippur a few times, white being traditional on that day, then put it away when I, uh, grew out of it. In the early ’90’s, we decorated it with pink crepe paper and sequins, and my daughter wore it as a full-length Queen Esther costume for Purim. When she was older (and taller), she too wore it for Yom Kippur. It fits neither of us now, and a bit of the lace has yellowed, but I still have it, and the memories it evokes.”


School uniforms and school dress codes

We have a very simple dress code at our school. Anything that’s comfortable or looks cool is illegal.

We have a very strict dress code at our school. Yesterday my lunch was punished because they said the brown paper bag it came in was offensive.

Our school has a very strict dress code. Laced shoes, pressed trousers, shirt and tie and that’s just the girls.

Our school adopted such a strict dress code that the first week, three of the teachers were kept after school.

One kid wears clothes that have so many rips, he can clip his toenails with his shoes and socks still on.

One guy wears a tie to school every day. Now if they could only get him to wear a shirt.

The teacher told one of the bad dressers in our class to do something about his shirt tail hanging out. So he took off his pants.

It’s hard to describe the clothing this one classmate of mine wears, but if you saw it running across your kitchen floor, your father would hit it with a broom.

One kid in our class wears the best of everything. Even in gym class he has designer sweat.

One girl is very neat. She gives her clothes away to the needy when they get wrinkled.


Assembly Required

A gynecologist tired of his profession, and wanting less responsibility, decided a career change was in order. After some serious thought, he decided that being an engine mechanic, something he had once enjoyed prior to college, would be a good choice. However, it had been a long time since he had tinkered with an engine and he knew that in order to compete with the younger workforce, he would have to go to school. He enrolled in a technical institute that specialized in teaching auto mechanics. He aced the course, but the final exam required each student to completely strip and reassemble an engine. It was with some trepidation that he took the test. At completion, he turned the engine over to his instructors for evaluation and awaited his final grade. When they were handed out, he did a double take at the 150% grade he received. Rather confused, he asked his instructors how it was possible to have a grade like this. “It is really quite simple,” they said. “We gave you 50% for correctly disassembling the engine, 50% for correctly reassembling it, and an additional 50% for doing it all through the muffler.”


At IKEA: is the phrase, “some assembly required” their way of saying, “here’s a pine tree and some nails” ?

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