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A Modern Orthodox Synagogue

PARASHAT VAYAKHEL

This week's parasha, Parashat Vayakhel, finds Moshe Rabbeinu relating the directions and instructions for the construction of the Mishkan to the Jewish people.  The fact that the original narration of these laws by Hashem to Moshe Rabbeinu took place several parashiyot ago (in Parashat Terumah), and the fact that the golden calf narrative interrupts the original Mishkan-laws directives and this week's conveyance of those same directives, is not coincidental.  There is a direct connection between the sin of the golden calf- and Hashem's ultimately forgiving the Jewish people for this transgression- and the construction of the Mishkan.  The Torah (Shemot 38:21) refers to the Mishkan as the "mishkan ha'edut", the "Tabernacle of Testimony."  Rashi (ad loc.) explains that the Mishkan is referred to as the "tabernacle of testimony" because the very existence of the Mishkan "bears testimony to the fact that the Almighty pardoned them for the incident of the calf.  This is evidenced by the fact that God's Shechinah dwells amongst the people, by means of the Mishkan."
 
This week is also Shabbat Shekalim; a special Maftir is read from a second Sefer Torah.  This Maftir reading is the first paragraph of Parashat Ki Tissa, and it describes the mandate to collect the half-shekel census coin.  In ancient times, it was at this juncture of the Jewish calendar, as we approach the month of Nissan, that the census administration would annually remind the people to contribute their coins for that year's cencus (and korban fund).  Accordingly, we continue to read "Parashat Shekalim" at this time of the year.
 
Rosh Chodesh Adar Sheni is on Sunday and Monday.  Usually, when Shabbat falls on Erev Rosh Chodesh, then we read the special "Machar Chodesh" haftarah on Shabbat morning.  However, when Erev Rosh Chodesh coincides with Shabbat Shekalim, then Shabbat Shekalim overrides Erev Rosh Chodesh, and the Haftarah for Shabbat Shekalim is the one that is read.
 
All the best,
 
Rabbi Peretz Robinson