Weekly Parashah

Parashah Vayakhel - Pekudei (And he assembled …)

27 Adar, 5777 / March 25th, 2017

By David Barker

 

This Week’s Readings:

Torah: Exodus 35:1 – 40:38; Exodus 12:1-20 (Shabbat HaChodesh)

Haftarah: Ezekiel 45:16 – 46:18

Brit Chadashah: Romans 12:1-8

 

When it comes to special times of celebration there is usually an expectation of a gift, whether it be birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Hanukah or any other. Every year some of us are faced with the dreaded question, “What do you give the man/woman who already has everything?” While we know, this is not literally true, what we are thinking is… they have all they need, what more could they possibly want, or perhaps closer to the truth, what can I really afford? However, this same question has even a greater context. At those appointed times (moadim) “What do you give the Creator of the universe, the one and only G-d, who has everything, made everything, and who says of Himself that every beast of the forest is Mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains. Everything moving in the field is Mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you— for the world is Mine and all it contains!?”

 

In the Torah Portion, Moses assembles the children of Israel to give them G-d’s command regarding the keeping of Shabbat and instructions for the making of the mishkan (Tabernacle).  Notice that Adonai requests an offering of materials for its construction and operation with a specific condition, “Whoever has a willing heart, let him bring Adonai’s offering”. Imagine for a moment what this beautiful tabernacle may have looked like, with gold, silver, bronze, blue, purple and scarlet. Tapestries, gem stones, embroidery and fine linen. This would be the very place where G-d’s shekinah would dwell, a place made entirely from the offerings of those with a willing heart.

 

In the Haftarah Portion the prophet Ezekiel is speaking of the Kingdom age when Messiah will be reigning from Jerusalem. Here again we have instruction regarding offerings; in fact the word offering is used no less than 33 times just in this portion alone, affirming the centrality of sacrifice. The people are to bring these offerings to the prince, for him to offer on their behalf on special occasions: feasts, new month celebrations, and Sabbaths. He would make these offerings for the house of Israel to secure their atonement.

 

The Brit Chadashah Portion has Shaul giving us practical teaching on the same themes of a willing heart, the tabernacle of G-d and the centrality of sacrifice and offerings. Today the tabernacle where G-d dwells is the body of Messiah, meaning each and every one of us who believe. Just for a moment imagine how diverse and how beautiful such a dwelling looks, with its different colors, sizes and shapes. Each one of us has a unique function, we have all been given gifts for edification of one another, and instruction on how to serve each other, and teaching on how to remain separate and distinct from this world. And what are we to do with all that we have been given? We are to bring ourselves as living sacrifices holy and acceptable to G-d which is our spiritual service.

 

So, we learn that there is indeed a gift we can offer to our G-d and King. But the irony is that it is nothing we have ourselves but only that which He has given us: life, salvation and service with a willing heart. Remember, He first showed us the way by example through Yeshua, who gave His very own life as an act of service and obedience to the Father, so that we may have eternal life.  If we say we love G-d, if we say we are followers of Yeshua, then we are required to bring our gift of worship. My challenge: How are you offering yourself as a holy and living sacrifice in service to G-d?