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Vayakhel-Pekudei 5775

Vayakhel-Pekudei (Exodus 35-40 )

by Kalman Packouz

GOOD MORNING!  Many Jewish holidays have been humorously described as: "They wanted to kill us. We won. Let's eat." If you'd like to have your Pesach (Passover) Seder to be more than "Can we skip this part of the Hagaddah ... and Let's eat!", then this week's edition might be of help. The first Pesach Seder is Friday, night, April 3rd. Your Seder can be an even more enjoyable, memorable and warm family experience.

How does one get his/her children to feel positively about being Jewish? You cannot transfer your feelings, but you can create the atmosphere and the experience which will engender positive feelings. Many people who love being Jewish, fondly reminisced about their Zaideh (grandfather) presiding over the Shabbat table or their Bubbie (grandmother) lighting Shabbat candles ... and their Seder! You are a link in that chain!

Q & A: How Do I Make My Seder Enjoyable,
Creative and Meaningful?

Remember that the Seder is for the kids, to transmit our history and understanding of life. You've got to make it interesting and intrigue them to ask questions. If a person asks a question, he'll be inclined to hear the answer! The only way to transmit your love and feeling for Judaism is through shared, positive experiences. You need to be excited about the Seder! Some ideas from Rabbi Shimon Apisdorf:

1. Invest time before the Seder. Trade in your Maxwell House Hagaddah for one with commentary. Then read it! Visit a Jewish book store and see what intrigues you. Look at a commentary to get interesting insights to share with your family and guests. A few suggestions: Judaism in a Nutshell: Passover, Artscroll Haggadahs and Book of Our Heritage by Eliyahu Kitov. Available at local Jewish bookstores or by calling toll-free 877-758-3242 ... or via Also, excellent materials including an audio guide "How to Conduct the Passover Seder" are available at!

2. Get Passover story books for the kids now! Read to them the stories before Pesach. Have them or help them make a little play to present at the Seder. Buy them Artscroll Children's Hagaddah!

3. Have quizzes and prizes. Ask questions and give 20 points for a right answer. 100 points and they get a prize! Start with the youngest and work up through the ages. If a child answers a question that's not his, he loses 20 points! Name: the plagues, the 4 sons, the number of years in slavery -- make your list of questions before the Seder. (You can even prep the kids before the Seder with the answers!)

4. Plan out the Seder with little surprises and props. During the section on the plagues throw into the air plastic animals when you get to the Wild Beasts; use ping pong balls for the plague of Hail. Be creative. Give each child a brown paper bag filled with his props. Have fun! (you can also order the "Bag of Plagues" props available at your local Jewish bookstore -- or -- or assemble your own!)

5. Delegate. Give your kids or guests a small part of the Haggadah to prepare. They can look at a Haggadah with commentary -- or go to and search. It involves them and makes them a part of the Seder rather than being an observer.

6. Have questions for discussion at the table! Passover marks the birth of the Jewish people. It's a time to reflect on the meaning, value and implications of being Jewish. Here are some questions to discuss:

  1. On a scale of 1-10, how important is being Jewish to you? Please explain.
  2. If your son, daughter, brother, sister, or best friend told you that they planned to raise their children without any Jewish education or identity, how would you react?
  3. If you thought the existence of Israel was in danger, would you risk your life to help save it?
  4. What do you like about being Jewish? What don't you like?
  5. Is it important to you or for your children to have mostly Jewish friends? Why?

7. Spend time at and ... and for more on Pesach! And be sure to see the Aish video "The Google Exodus" -- What would the Exodus have looked like if Moses had the internet?


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Torah Portion of the week

Vayak'hel-Pekudey, Exodus 35:1 - 40:38

Moshe relays the Almighty's commands to refrain from building the Mishkan (the Tabernacle or Portable Sanctuary) on the Shabbat, to contribute items needed to build the Mishkan, to construct the components of the Mishkan and the appurtenances of the Cohanim. The craftsmen are selected, the work begins. The craftsmen report that there are too many donations, and for the first and probably the only time in fundraising history, the Jewish people are told to refrain from bringing additional contributions!

Pekudey includes an accounting of all the materials that went into the making of the Mishkan and details of the construction of the clothing of the Cohanim. The Tabernacle is completed, Moses examines all of the components and gives his approval to the quality and exactness of construction, the Almighty commands to erect the Tabernacle, it's erected and the various vessels are placed in their proper place.

* * *

Dvar Torah
from Twerski on Chumash by Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski, M.D.

The Torah states:

"Moses said to the Children of Israel, 'See, God has proclaimed by name, Bezalel son of Uri son of Hur of the tribe of Judah .. to perform every craft of design' " (Ex. 35:30-33).

What were the Children of Israel supposed to see?

The Daas Zekeinim MiBaalei HaTosafos says that Moses assumed that he would be designated to fashion the Sanctuary, but God said to him, "It is not going to be as you assume. Rather, the grandson of Hur, who was killed by the Israelites for opposing the making of the Golden Calf, he will make the Sanctuary, which is to serve as a forgiveness for the worship of the Golden Calf."

Rabbi Henoch Lebovitz remarks that logically we might have reasoned that Bezalel was unfit for this assignment, because he might be harboring a resentment toward the Israelites for the killing of his grandfather, and he might not throw himself wholeheartedly into the work to achieve forgiveness for them. The selection of Betzalel tells us that God knew that Bezalel had eliminated every trace of anger and resentment toward the Israelites. It was this enormous self-mastery that made him the ideal person to build the Sanctuary to achieve forgiveness for the Israelites.

The Children of Israel were supposed to see the selection of Bezalel and to learn the lesson that it is possible for each and everyone of us to eliminate all anger and resentment and to forgive others.



Hundreds of families in Israel are unable to afford groceries for Yom Tov (the holiday). This group gives them coupons redeemable only for food. They arrange with the supermarket to get an extra 10% on every dollar you give them. I know they are legitimate and I give them money! Send your tax-deductible contribution to:

Keren Y&Y
805-A Roosevelt Ct.
Far Rockaway, NY 11691

Fulfill the special mitzvah of Maos Chitim, helping the poor for Pesach!


Candle Lighting Times

March 13
(or go to

Jerusalem 5:09
Guatemala 5:54 - Hong Kong 6:13 - Honolulu 6:21
J'Burg 6:08 - London 5:42 - Los Angeles 6:42
Melbourne 7:25 - Mexico City 6:27 - Miami 7:11
New York 6:42 - Singapore 6:59 - Toronto 7:04

Quote of the Week

Forgiveness does not change the past,
but it enlarges the future
--  Paul Boese



In memory of my darling wife

Penelope Broit Z"L

whom I lost to cancer
and is now with HaShem
and basking in the Schina

--  Adam Broit


With Special Thanks to

Robert K. Jones


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