Parshat Vayakhel-Pekuday

(Exodus: 35:1-40:38)

Parshat Para

  1. [Parsha] These 2 parshiot are unusual because they are mainly a repetition of Trumah and Tzaveh. The commentaries tell us that in Trumah and Tzaveh the commandments were given and in these parshiot the commandments were fulfilled. We also find in the Torah that in relation to sins, first the Torah gives a warning not to do a particular sin, and then the Torah tells us what the punishment is. Why must there be 2 distinct steps that are strongly emphasized and developed? Why not mention the commandment and say that it was done or mention the sin and its punishment all in one statement?
  2. [Parshiot Para, Hachodesh and Hagadol] We read Parshat Para to remind us that we have to purify ourselves as a preparation for Pesach. We read Parshat Hachodesh to remind us that Pesach is approaching and we read Parshat Hagadol to remind us that Pesach is very close. The other festivals do not have so many reminders in the synagogue that the festival is approaching. Why is there this emphasis on preparing for Pesach?
  3. [Pesach] On Pesach, we are not permitted to eat or drink bread or grain products, and, in addition, we are not even allowed to have them in our possession. Some rabbis say that, if one would suffer a financial loss by throwing out his grain products, he can sell them in a legal sale to a non-Jew, and then try to buy them back after Pesach. Other rabbis do not allow this sale for the regular Jew, but only for big commercial companies. What do you think is the logic for each side of this halachic argument?
  4. [Pesach] In Jewish ethical thought, the rising of the dough in bread and cakes represents the evil inclination. Why is this a good metaphor for the inclination to do evil?
  5. [Pesach] Someone cleaned his or her house and removed all the chametz (grain products). Then he or she saw a cat go into the house with bread in its mouth. Would one have to clean the house again, or could one assume that the cat will eat the bread?


Sometimes a person can’t speak at all, and it seems to him that he is not able to open his mouth in prayer and meditation. He is too attached to material things, or he has physical and spiritual troubles. Nonetheless, at a time like that, he should force himself to call out to God from the place of his trouble….through that forcing, he will be worthy, usually, to experience a spiritual release, and  he will be able to pray and to express himself as he should.

–Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, 1772-1810, Ukraine.

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

And  to the memory of Sarah Beila Kummer bat Yitzchak and Chana, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer


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