There are a lot of details this week. What strikes me this year is the unity and joy of the people, as they generously and whole-heartedly donate their materials, time, energy, and expertise to building the Tabernacle and making the priests’ vestments. But, as we’ll read in coming weeks, it can be very difficult to maintain such positive enthusiasm among a large and diverse people.
Comments from 2009:
This week, we end the book Exodus with a double portion. And not only do we have a real double portion (214 verses, versus a typical 100-140 or so), but, it is yet another special Sabbath. This is Shabbat HaChodesh (Sabbath of THE Month), which precedes the first of the month of Nissan and is the last of the four special Sabbaths before Passover that includes a reading from a second scroll. And it’s 20 verses (Ex. 12:1-20), bringing the Torah reading total to a whopping 234 verses! The second scroll reading describes how the first Passover was to be observed and the Haftarah, again specially chosen, is Ezekiel 45:16-46:18 (45:18-46:13 for Sephardim), which is a prophecy of Passover observance in the Third Temple, i.e., in messianic times.
As I hope you remember, the Lord gave Moses several chapters of detailed instructions concerning the building and furnishing of the Tabernacle and design of the priests’ vestments, especially Aaron’s, as High Priest. This week, after still another command concerning Sabbath observance, we learn how the instructions are actually carried out. The people are asked to donate goods and services for the tasks at hand. One might think that the people would be in a subdued frame of mind after being punished for the golden calf incident, but instead, they people donate and work with joy and thankfulness that they have not been abandoned, that their relationship with the Lord and their future have not been destroyed. They are so overwhelmingly generous that they eventually have to be told to stop giving. The gold that had been withheld from making the golden calf (the rabbis say the women did not participate in that incident but held back their gold jewelry) is now used for a much higher purpose.
The expert artisans, described as endowed with divine skill by the Lord, go to work, led by Bezalel. Weaving, sewing, carpentry, carving, metal working, embroidery, all are tackled with enthusiasm. In addition, Moses orders a careful audit of the metals used, all the gold, silver, and copper (pity the banks receiving TARP funds haven’t been as careful tracking where that money has gone). Finally, on the first day of the first month, i.e., the first of Nissan (what good timing for our reading! See, everything ties together.), Moses assembles the Tabernacle as directed (yes, “some assembly required”). When he finishes, the presence of the Lord fills the Tabernacle and a cloud covers it. The movement of the cloud (or fire at night) will signal when the Israelites are to move onward.
Some Assembly Required
Every year on my birthday, I looked forward to my aunt’s gift – a scarf, hat, or sweater knitted by hand. One year, she must have had better things to do because I received a ball of yarn, knitting needles, and a how-to-knit book. Her card read, “Scarf, some assembly required.”
(#774) The trip to Rome
Moshe and Abe were partners in a very successful clothing factory. It had been in operation for many years and there wasn’t much they didn’t know about the shmatta business. One day, Moshe decided to take a trip to Rome.
As Abe had many Catholic friends, he surprised Moshe by getting him an audience with none other than the Pope.
On Moshe’s first day back at work after his Rome trip, Abe asked him, “So, Moshe, what kind of a man is the Pope?”
Moshe replied, “I would say he’s a 44 regular.”
(#790) The tailor – 3
Isaac was out shopping in Golders Green when he sees a sign in a window saying, ‘JACOB’S CUSTOM MADE CLOTHING’. He’s not sure whether to go in – it looks an expensive shop. But Jacob, the owner, sees him hesitating and quickly invites him in.
“What are you looking for?”
“Good,” said Jacob, “you’ve come to the right place. When we make a suit here, you’ll be surprised at how we go about it. First, digital cameras take pictures of your every muscle and we download the pictures to a special computer to build up your image. Then we cultivate sheep in Australia to get the very best cloth. For the silk lining, we contact Japan for their silkworms, and we ask Japanese deep-sea divers to get the pearl buttons.
“B-b-bbut,” said Isaac, “I need the suit for a Bar Mitzvah.”
“…You’ll have it.”
Q: Did you hear about the artist who died? A: Too many strokes.
Q: Did you hear about the attempted robbery at the museum? They had run out of gas a few blocks away when the police caught them, and they said, “We didn’t have the Monet to buy Degas to make the Van Gogh.”
Q: Did you hear about the artist who paints in jail? A: He had a brush with the law.
Q: How does Salvador Dali start his mornings? A: With a bowl of “Surreal”
Q: What do you call a painting by a cat? A: A paw-trait.
Q: Why was the painting arrested? A: Because it was framed.
If it ain’t Baroque, then don’t fix it.
The Earth without art is just Eh.
Adam and Eve
A Briton, a Frenchman and a Russian are viewing a painting of Adam and Eve frolicking in the Garden of Eden. “Look at their reserve, their calm,” muses the Brit. “They must be British.” “Nonsense,” the Frenchman disagrees. “They’re naked, and so beautiful. Clearly, they are French.” “No way! They have no clothes and no shelter,” the Russian points out, “They have only an apple to eat, and they are being told they live in a paradise. Obviously, they are Russian.”
TOP TEN CHANGES TO THE MISHKAN IF IT WAS BUILT TODAY
10. Showbread would be sponsored by Zomick
9. GPS/Mapquest: 40-year desert problem solved
8.Want to know how to bring a Korban Chagiga (festival sacrifice)? there’s an app for that 7. Home Depot would have a cubit converter
6. Project Runway would have a breastplate-robe-tunic challenge
5. Live streaming Libation coverage
4. $10 to get into your office’s Kohain-Gadol (High Priest) Yom-Kippur Death Pool 3. ‘Incense for Men’ by Calvin Klein
2. Kodesh Kadashim (Holy of Holies) would be username/password protected
1.Jews would all live in trailer parks. Jtrash!