Parasha Inspiration – Pikudei

וַיְכַ֥ס הֶֽעָנָ֖ן אֶת־אֹ֣הֶל מוֹעֵ֑ד וּכְב֣וֹד יְהֹוָ֔ה מָלֵ֖א אֶת־הַמִּשְׁכָּֽן: וְלֹֽא־יָכֹ֣ל משֶׁ֗ה לָבוֹא֙ אֶל־אֹ֣הֶל מוֹעֵ֔ד כִּֽי־שָׁכַ֥ן עָלָ֖יו הֶֽעָנָ֑ן וּכְב֣וֹד יְהֹוָ֔ה מָלֵ֖א אֶת־הַמִּשְׁכָּֽן: וּבְהֵֽעָל֤וֹת הֶֽעָנָן֙ מֵעַ֣ל הַמִּשְׁכָּ֔ן יִסְע֖וּ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל בְּכֹ֖ל מַסְעֵיהֶֽם: וְאִם־לֹ֥א יֵֽעָלֶ֖ה הֶֽעָנָ֑ן וְלֹ֣א יִסְע֔וּ עַד־י֖וֹם הֵעָֽלֹתֽוֹ: כִּי֩ עֲנַ֨ן יְהֹוָ֤ה עַל־הַמִּשְׁכָּן֙ יוֹמָ֔ם וְאֵ֕שׁ תִּֽהְיֶ֥ה לַ֖יְלָה בּ֑וֹ לְעֵינֵ֥י כָל־בֵּֽית־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל בְּכָל־מַסְעֵיהֶֽם:

And the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the Mishkan. Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting because the cloud rested upon it and the glory of the Lord filled the Mishkan. When the cloud rose up from over the Mishkan, the children of Israel set out in all their journeys. But if the cloud did not rise up, they did not set out until the day that it rose. For the cloud of the Lord was upon the Mishkan by day, and there was fire within it at night, before the eyes of the entire house of Israel in all their journeys.

Exodus 40:34-38

This week’s Torah portion completes the book of Exodus. It describes the building of the Mishkan, and its blessing by Moses. All of the finished parts and influence used for the Mishkan are blessed by Moses. But, the Mishkan is not yet ready for use.                      

Before the duties of the Mishkan can begin, the kahuna, the priesthood must be inaugurated as described earlier in the Torah. For 7 days, Aaron and his sons stood before the entrance to the Ohel Moed. Then, for one day after the 7th day of the inauguration, the kahuna fulfilled the daily sacrifices for the first time. This completed the Miluim, the inauguration of the kahuna, the 8th day, inauguration

Once the Miluim were complete, and the Tamid offerings were offered on the 8th day of the Miluim, then, and only then, did the Shechinah come to rest on the Mishkan. This is a wonderful reminder that Hashem’s relationship with Israel is not about things. Rather, it is about doing, in fact, it is about doing in faith. Hashem’s Shechinah came to rest on the Mishkan ultimately as the Kohayns had begun performing the daily sacrifices. The sacrifices were continued from this point at Sinai all the way through the destruction of Solomon’s Temple by Nebuchadnezzar. This teaches us that Israel’s relationship with Hashem is about doing the commandments. It is about performing the mitzvot. Shabbat shalom.

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Rabbi Steven Bernstein

Steve was born on Lag B’Omer in Ann Arbor, MI but was raised in Gainesville, FL. The son of two University of Florida professors, he excelled in the sciences in school. In addition to his normal academic studies, he pursued his Jewish education studying with many Rabbis and professors of Judaic Studies from the University including visiting Rabbis such as Abraham Joshua Heschel and Shlomo Carlebach.