(Exodus: 35:1-40:38)

(Haftara: Melachim I  7:40-50)

  1. [35:1] “And Moshe gathered the whole community of the children of Israel”.  The midrash tells us that before the sin of the golden calf, even an individual could build the mishkan (the tabernacle)—”…any person whose heart is willing…”.  However, after the sin of the golden calf, the mishkan could only be built with the power of the community–an individual was not strong enough. Which religious activities are better carried out by the community and which are better done  by the individual?

Is charity (tzedaka) better carried out by the community or by individuals?

  1.  [35:14] “The candlestick for the light…and the oil for the light.”  The Sfat Emet (1847-1905, Poland) says that the oil of the menorah represents the human mind—lucid and clear consciousness. Couldn’t the pure gold of the menorah or the sweet smell of the incense also represent the mind? Why is the oil of the menorah a better symbol for the mind?
  1. [35:34] “And the ability to teach, he put into his heart…”  What qualities make up the ability to teach?
  1. [35:35] “And he filled him with wisdom of heart to do craftsmanship…those who do craftsmanship and think thoughts.” What is craftsmanship? Can a person of low intelligence be a craftsman? What qualities must a craftsman have?
  2. [Haftara: Melachim I, 8:12] “God has said that He would dwell in the thick darkness.” For King Solomon, God was in the “thick darkness”? For Moshe, He was in a cloud. For Eliyahu, He was in the “still, small voice”. What do these different revelations of God mean?

Commentary

Bless the Lord, O my soul, who made you a singer in his holy house forever, who has given you a tongue like the wind, and a heart like the sea, who has journeyed you from generation to generation to this impeccable moment of sweet bewilderment.

–Leonard Cohen, born 1934, Canada, USA.

This study page is dedicated to the memory of Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava—Eli Zucker

And this study page is dedicated to the memory of Sarah Bella bat Yitzchak Kummer, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer