Vayak’hel (Exodus 35:1 – 38:20)

This week, the Israelites build and furnish the Tabernacle, following the explicit instructions we read three weeks ago.  The haftarah, I Kings 7:40-50 (7:13-26 for Sephardim, and no, I don’t know why), similarly deals with the furnishing of Solomon’s Temple.  Just as credit is given to the craftsmanship and artistry of Bezalel and Oholiab, so too is Hiram, a talented metalworker from Tyre, credited for his work for the Temple.

First, Moses reminds the people that they mustn’t work or light a fire on the Sabbath.  Then he passes along the detailed instructions for the Tabernacle. This juxtaposition taught the sages that observing the Sabbath is even more important than building the  Tabernacle (or Temple) and also led to the derivation of the 39 specific types of activities (melachot, singular, melachah) that are prohibited on the Sabbath, from what was done to build and furnish the Tabernacle; see the list at, e.g.,

Since we already read all the details three weeks ago, what’s different in this portion, aside from the fact that the instructions are actually carried out?  What happens is more than what was ordered.  The attitude of the Israelites, as much as their contributions of materials and skill, provides some redemption from the Golden Calf debacle.  The women, according to the Midrash (Shemot Rabbah 48:6), having refused to contribute to the Golden Calf, now are the first to contribute to the Tabernacle.  Moses asks for materials only from “everyone whose heart so moves him shall bring them” (35:5).  The people’s joyful, enthusiastic response is so overwhelming that Moses has to ask them to stop giving, they gave so much (a fundraiser’s dream).  The men and women with creative skill throw themselves into their tasks.  Everyone’s intent is not simply to build something beautiful, or to obey orders, but to serve the Lord.

I’m not into interior decorating for its own sake (OK, stop laughing out there!).  Art work I got several years ago has yet to be hung.  Whether they are beautiful or not, I am most affected by furnishings that evoke memories.  I remember not my father’s easy chair per se, but snuggling next to him in it as a child, while we watched “Rawhide” or “Bilko”.  I remember Mama’s silverware because I counted it after dinner every Shabbos (checking for loss, not theft!), one of my admittedly too-few chores.  The wooden rocking chair upstairs is the one in which I nursed my children, that my mother used for us, and that her mother used for her and her brothers.  And when I look at the silver Chanukah menorah that my mother gave us for our 25th anniversary, I remember her saying that she wanted it to be something “to remember her by.”  As if we could ever forget!

Shabbat shalom,


President George W. Bush was going to a Home Depot. He was surrounded by his bodyguards, and everyone immediately took notice of the unusual sight. They looked closer and they saw who it was.

Everyone was in awe. “Why would George W. bush be in a Home Depot?” they all asked each other. “He should have his workers do it for him”.

Finally, one man asked the President, “What are you doing in this little store of ours?”
To which George replied, “Oh, everyone has been saying that I should get a new cabinet”.


Construction Whodunnit

A workman was killed at a construction site. The police began questioning a number of the other workers.  Based with past brushes with the law, many of these workers were considered prime suspects. They were a motley crew:

The electrician was suspected of wiretapping once but was never charged.

The carpenter thought he was a stud. He tried to frame another man one time.

The glazier went to great panes to conceal his past. He still claims that he didn’t do anything; that he was framed.

The painter had a brush with the law several years ago.

The heating, ventilation and air conditioning contractor was known to pack heat. He was arrested once but duct the charges.

The mason was suspect because he gets stoned regularly.

The cabinet maker is an accomplished counter fitter.

The autopsy led the police to arrest the carpenter, who subsequently confessed. The evidence against him was irrefutable, because it was found that the workman, when he died, was hammered.




There are a lot of Tabernacle kits online. The one below looks pretty good. And it’s on sale.  IGP

tph tabernacle model kit


The Tabernacle Model Kit

Your Price:  $55.00(You save $5.00)
Brand: GoodSeed International

Buy in bulk and save

Product Description      

  • Easy to assemble
  • Detailed and accurate (328 pieces)
  • Ideal for all ages
  • Excellent visual aid for teaching
  • Dimensions: 23″ x 12″ x 4″ (59 x 31 x 10 cm)
  • Scale: 1:90
  • Weight4.3LB (1.4 kg)

Model Details for the Tabernacle in the Wilderness:

This biblical tabernacle model kit is made out of plastic parts and rubber figures. The pieces can be easily assembled to complete the whole tabernacle. The plastic material makes this particular model kit very light-weight and durable. Ideal for classroom demonstration and personal collection. Additional paint can be applied (picture shown above is painted; unpainted model shown at right except for the last one). Includes instruction manual booklet for assembly. Find out also how to build and paint the tabernacle model guide online.

This kit contains the Tabernacle and furniture and even the characters‚ including:


 The Craftsman

A metal craftsman became known far and wide for developing a whole new art form by turning ordinary door hinges into exquisite works of beauty.

But business suddenly dropped. To help with expenses, he rented out space in his shop to a shoe repairman.

When the city zoning officials found out what he had done he was ordered to appear in court where he was found guilty.

“But,” he protested, “what did I do wrong?”

“Well,” the judge explained, “you were fine when you were only selling your beautiful metalwork for doors, but when you allowed the shoe repairer to share your space, it became a clear-cut case of adding insole to hingery!”


Enthusiasm Quotes

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.
Winston Churchill

If you aren’t fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm.
Vince Lombardi

I am often amazed at how much more capability and enthusiasm for science there is among elementary school youngsters than among college students.
Carl Sagan [I’m not amazed, but I am sad. IGP]

In the realm of ideas everything depends on enthusiasm… in the real world all rests on perseverance.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


Her First Art Show

Mary goes to her first show at an art gallery and is looking at the paintings.  One is a huge canvas that has black with yellow blobs of paint splattered all over it.  The next painting is a murky gray color that has drips of purple paint streaked across it.

Mary walks over to the artist and says, “I don’t understand your paintings.”

“I paint what I feel inside me,” explains the artist.

“Have you ever tried Alka-Seltzer?”


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