The following post is an edited version of a post that appeared two years ago on Globe Tribune.Info.
This Shabbat, Parshat Vayakhel, candle lighting will be at 5:33 PM in Brooklyn New York. This parsha is usually doubled up with the following parsha of Pekudei to make the final reading of the book of Exodus. Since this is a leap year, however, the two parshas are read separately.
We are in the middle of Adar I, which is added before the regular month of Adar in which Purim occurs. Seven times in 19 years, an extra Adar is added to keep the holidays within their regular seasons. Since a regular hebrew year has 352 days, it is necessary to add leap months. Otherwise, Hanukkah would come out in the summer on a cyclical basis, along with Passover in the winter and other such oddities. Although the Jewish calendar is more complicated than the Gregorian calendar, it is very accurate.
Candle lighting, which is 18 minutes before sunset, differs from one locality to another. Chabad.org has the candle lighting time for your location, as well as articles on the parsha and other topics of interest. These articles can be printed out to be read on Shabbat. In addition, Aish.com similarly has a wide assortment of educational and entertaining materials in written and in multimedia format.
Chabad.org has an article about one woman’s reaction to people on the street who solicit money. Is giving to people who ask for money enabling them in self destructive behaviors? Or is it helping people out of a hard situation? When I am deciding whether to give or not, I become an impromptu judge. I’ve been judged before. I hope to be worthy of the benefit of a doubt. Perhaps by judging others kindly, I will elicit needed mercy for myself in the future. And then there are times that I feel angry, cynical and mean. Sometimes a coin or a bill is like a bucket of water, extinguishing negativity. After reading the article on Chabad.org, I realise that others have such thoughts as well.
Aish.com has an article by a woman who visited a shul in Teheran. Despite having good reason to fear unintroduced visitors, the welcome experienced by the woman who wrote this article was remarkable.
This week’s parsha, deals with the commandments of Shabbat, as well as the completion of the Mishkan, which was a sort of portable temple that the Israelites took with them in the desert before the current location of the Holy Temple was designated in the spot temporarily occupied today by the al Akhsa mosque
The Torah reading also deals with the items and funds that were collected to build the Mishkon. It is clear from the written text and the commentary that detailed accounts were kept of what was collected from the Jewish people to build the Mishkon. It is worth noting that when enough materials had been collected, Moshe announced a stop to collection activities.
The Haftarah that is read this week is I Kings 7:13-26. It deals with the construction of the Temple in the time of Solomon, at which time it was put up in its fixed location above where the Western Wall is today.
The activities involved in the construction of the Mishkan are all prohibited on Shabbat. Observance of these prohibitions is necessary to experience fully the beauty of Shabbat, much as spelling and grammar restrictions must be observed to experience the beauty and expressive range of a spoken and written language. I wish all of my readers a peaceful and enjoyable Shabbat.