A Closer Undertaking ~ The Week's End (March 17, 2023)
Mar 13th 2023

The double portion of Vayakhel-Pekudei, the final two parashiyot in the book of Exodus conclude the narrative of the construction of the tabernacle.Vayakhel recapitulates the instructions for fashioning the tabernacle and its furnishings, and Pekudei gives a detailed accounting of the expenditures involved. We read that all the people—men and women alike—responded with great generosity to Moses’ call and freely contributed their most precious possessions as well as their skilled services. There was an outpouring of donations, so much so that Moses had to call a halt to contributions.

And then there were those who did the work. Exodus 36:2 relates the following: “Moses then called Bezalel and Oholiab, and every skilled person whom the Lord had endowed with skill, everyone who excelled in ability, to undertake the task and carry it out.” The Hebrew expression corresponding to the English translation in the Etz Ḥayim Ḥumash for “undertake the task” is לְקָרְבָה אֶל־הַמְּלָאכָה literally “to draw near unto”. This requires further clarification. What is the meaning of drawing near to or coming close to do the work rather than simply undertaking the task? The verb root ק-ר-ב for drawing near is also the root of the word for a sacrificial offering קָרְבָּן because an offering is the means to bring oneself closer to God and to elevate oneself.

Like any project that entails arduous work for the sake of Heaven, the key to success is that you must draw yourself close to the work. This is what was required of the artisans involved in the holy work of building the tabernacle and it applies to tasks in our daily lives as well. If you take small steps with love and bring a project close to your heart, you will complete the work in joy.