Vayakhel 5779-2019

"Jewish Women and Jewish Destiny"
(Revised and updated from Vayakhel 5760-2000)

We are told in parashat Vayakhel that the Jewish women responded immediately to the appeals that were made by Moses for gold for building the Tabernacle, swiftly removing their precious jewelry and rushing them to the Tabernacle. This was only one of the many heroic actions that the women of Israel performed. The key role that the women of Israel played in the redemption of the people of Israel is confirmed by the remarkable rabbinic statement asserting that “only in the merit of the righteous women, were our ancestors redeemed from Egypt.” It is quite likely that this is true, not only of the generation of Egypt, but for all subsequent generations as well.

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Tetzaveh 5778-2018

“The Brothers: Moses and Aaron”

The Book of Exodus not only introduces the concept of brotherhood, but provides an extraordinary paradigm of brotherhood through the special relationship of Moses and Aaron.

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0 Comments9 Minutes

Kee Tisah 5775-2015

“Aaron, What Did This People Do To You?”

The biblical narrative seems to portray Aaron as a collaborator with the people of Israel in the sinful worship of the Golden Calf. Actually, Moses and Aaron play a very delicate balancing act of leadership in order to prevent the people from total destruction for their wayward ways.

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0 Comments9 Minutes

Vayakhel 5774-2014

“Lip Service is Hardly Enough”

The Torah commentators point to the subtle but profound differences between the charitable giving of the People of Israel to the Golden Calf and their donations of varied materials that were used to build the Tabernacle.

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0 Comments7 Minutes

Vayakhel 5771-2011

"Straying from Lofty Spiritual Moorings"

Not everybody is impressed by the people of Israel’s generosity when donating to the Tabernacle. One sage maintains that the people gave far more willingly to the Golden Calf than to the Tabernacle. Might this be an unredeemable stain on the people’s record?

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0 Comments8 Minutes

Kee Tisah 5771-2011

"The Thirteen Attributes of G-d’s Mercy"

After the sin of the Golden Calf, G-d forgives the people and pronounces what are known as the “13 Attributes of G-d’s Mercy.” These “13 Attributes” are considered the most exalted prayer that a Jew may utter when beseeching G-d for mercy. It is important to know the intended meanings of these fateful words.

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0 Comments9 Minutes

Kee Tisah 5770-2010

"Moses Wrestles with G-d"

When Moses descends from the mountain after spending forty days and nights with G-d, he finds the people of Israel worshiping the Golden Calf. G-d wants to destroy the people and start a new nation from Moses. Moses argues fiercely with G-d. What is the nature of the argument?

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0 Comments7 Minutes

Kee Tisah 5769-2009

"An Opportunity for Those Who Seek to Repent"

The sin of the Golden Calf was a decisive event in Jewish history. Although it is generally regarded as a permanent stain on the record of the Jewish people, underscoring their abject faithlessness, according to some opinions, the people’s sinfulness was actually Divinely orchestrated in order to provide an opening for future generations to return from sin.

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Vayakhel 5768-2008

"Rochel the Riveter"

Those who study parashat Vayakhel feel, at times, like throwing up their hands and saying, "Enough of the excruciating detail about the building of the Tabernacle." Nevertheless, there are always new and revolutionary insights that may be found when studying the nuances of the texts carefully. Parashat Vayakhel teaches about the special role that the women played in building the Tabernacle and conveys the important message about the primacy of the Jewish home that must never be compromised.

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0 Comments9 Minutes

Kee Tisah 5768-2008

"Moses Shatters the Tablets"

How did Moses have the temerity to break the tablets that were written by the hand of G-d? Were his actions not an unpardonable affront to the Divine presence?

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0 Comments9 Minutes

Kee Tisah 5765-2005

"Shabbat as a Priority in Jewish Life"

In the middle of the Torah portions that deals with building the Tabernacle and the sin of the Golden Calf, the Torah unexpectedly reaffirms the sanctity of the Sabbath day. From this, our rabbis deduce that Shabbat is a foremost priority that supercedes even the building of the Tabernacle, the Mishkan. This same overriding principle profoundly impacts on Jewish life in contemporary times.

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Kee Tisah 5763-2003

"Reverence for Learning in Jewish Tradition"

Immediately after the sin of the Golden Calf, Moses distances himself from the sinful people. Moving his tent outside the camp, he proceeds to hold court from that location. Scripture tells us that despite the peoples' rebelliousness, when Moses went out to his tent, the entire nation would stand at the entrance of their tents as a sign of respect. From this gesture of respect developed a whole ritual of behavior that continues to this day to reflect the reverence for learning that is the very essence of Jewish educational success.

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0 Comments8 Minutes

Vayakhel 5760-2000

"Jewish Women and Jewish Destiny"

We are told in parashat Vayakhel that the Jewish women responded immediately to the appeals that were made by Moses for gold for building the Tabernacle, removing their precious jewelry and rushing them to the Tabernacle. This was only one of the many heroic actions that the women of Israel performed. The key role that the women of Israel played in the redemption of the people of Israel is confirmed by the remarkable rabbinic statement asserting that only in the merit of the righteous women, were our ancestors redeemed from Egypt. It is quite likely that this is true not only of the generation of Egypt, but in all subsequent generations as well.

Read More


0 Comments15 Minutes