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Pekudei 5776

Pekudei (Exodus 38:21-40:38 )

by Kalman Packouz

GOOD MORNING!  It has been said that "Education is what you have left after you forget everything you've learned." Our goal in life is to perfect ourselves as human beings and to emulate the Almighty in our character and actions. Unfortunately, too often we're so busy with human doings we don't focus on developing as human beings.

In Pirke Avos -- Ethics of the Fathers (six chapters of pithy wisdom about life found in the back of most prayer books ... or available at your local Jewish bookstore, at or by calling toll-free to 877-758-3242), "Rabbi Shimon says, 'There are three crowns: The crown of Torah, the crown of priesthood and the crown of kingship. The crown of a good name is greater than them all (4:17)."

How do we perfect ourselves? To create that good name? How do we develop our personalities and character to such a degree that even the undertaker is sorry to see us go?

The Torah is instructions for living. Each of the 613 mitzvot (commandments) is a means of personal growth. By learning Torah and thinking about the mitzvah before performing it, one builds character and a filter for viewing life. We all have "tapes" running in our heads with subliminal messages that we have integrated. Oftentimes they are negative: "I'm a failure, I'm not smart enough, I can't succeed, if people really knew me they wouldn't like me ..." Those "tapes" are the messages we get from our society and those are the messages that we have to change to enjoy life and reach our potential. The Torah teaches positive messages for our "tapes."

In the Torah, the Five Books of Moses, there are 6 events which the Torah tells us to always remember. These "Six Remembrances" can be found following the morning prayer service in the prayer book. The Kabbalah (mysticism) teaches that by reciting these verses and remembering these events we change our consciousness in life. Here are the "Six Remembrances" and the ideas which we need to integrate into ourselves:

1. REMEMBER THE EXODUS FROM EGYPT -- "In order that you remember the day of your going out of Egypt all the days of your life" (Deuteronomy 16:3). The consciousness: There is a God Who cares about our lives, loves us, has redeemed us in the past and will redeem us in the future.

2. REMEMBER RECEIVING THE TORAH AT MT. SINAI -- "Only guard yourself and guard your soul very much lest you forget the things what your eyes saw and lest they stray from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and grandchildren -- the day you stood before the Lord your God at Mt. Sinai (Deuteronomy 4:9-10)." The consciousness: The Jewish people's raison d'être, our existence and redemption is in fulfilling the covenant with the Almighty and keeping His Torah.

3. REMEMBER AMALEK'S ATTACK -- "Remember what Amalek did to you as you left Egypt. He met you on the way, struck down the weak ones lagging behind you while you were tired and exhausted and he did not fear God. When it will be that when the Almighty will allow you to rest from all the enemies that surround you, in the land that the Lord your God gives to you as an inheritance to bequeath -- wipe out the memory of Amalek from under the Heavens. Do not forget (Deuteronomy 25:17-19)." The consciousness: Amalek represents evil and atheism. Strengthen yourself to stand against evil and to know God and God's Torah.

4. REMEMBER THE GOLDEN CALF -- "Remember, don't forget how you angered the Lord, your God in the wilderness (Deuteronomy 9:7)." We were told to wait for Moshe (Moses) to descend from 40 days on Mt. Sinai, but grew impatient and built the golden calf to replace Moshe as an intermediary to God. The consciousness: Trust in God, don't veer from God's commandments even if you think there is a better way.

5. REMEMBER MIRIAM -- "Remember that which the Lord your God did to Miriam on the way when you left Egypt (Deuteronomy 24:9)." The consciousness: Miriam spoke against Moshe. Never slander another person!

6. REMEMBER THE SABBATH -- "Remember the Day of the Sabbath to sanctify it (Exodus 20:8)." The consciousness: God created the world and rested on the Shabbat. He determines our success. Our success comes through learning and fulfilling the Torah.


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Torah Portion of the week

Pekudei, Exodus 38:21 - 40:38

Pekudei includes an accounting of all the materials that went into the making of the Mishkan (the portable Tabernacle) 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 places.

* * *

Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

After the completion of the construction of the Tabernacle, the Torah states:

"And Moshe saw all the work and behold, they did it as the Almighty commanded ... and Moshe blessed them" (Exodus 39:43).

Rabbi Zalman Sorotzkin was once at a dedication ceremony for which one rabbi selflessly devoted an extremely large amount of time and energy. When the rabbi spoke he heaped praise and blessings upon the donors whose contributions made the institution possible.

Rabbi Sorotzkin spoke next and said, "Really the donors should be the ones to praise and bless the rabbi. It was his efforts that enabled them to have the merit of contributing to such a worthwhile cause. However, the rabbi followed in the steps of Moshe. After the complete report of everything that was donated to the Mishkan, (the portable Tabernacle), Moshe blessed all those who participated in the donations and contributions. They should have blessed Moshe for the opportunity he gave them."

Rabbi Sorotzkin continued, "The same is true when a wealthy person helps a poor person. The wealthy person gains more from the poor person, since he gains spiritual merit. However, what usually happens? The receiver expresses more thanks to the giver than the giver does to the receiver."

When someone approaches us for a contribution for a worthy cause, we should appreciate that he is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to contribute. This is an important concept for people who work for the community to raise funds. They should be aware that they are doing an act of kindness for the donors. At the same time, they need to show their gratitude to the donors. And if the donors -- or prospective donors -- do not have respect or appreciation for the one making the request (assuming it was made pleasantly and properly), it is the prospective donor who needs to examine his own character and values.


Candle Lighting Times

March 11
(or go to

Jerusalem 5:09
Guatemala 5:54 - Hong Kong 6:13 - Honolulu 6:22
J'Burg 6:10 - London 5:41 - Los Angeles 5:40
Melbourne 7:27 - Mexico City 6:27 - Miami 6:10
New York 5:41 - Singapore 7:00 - Toronto 6:01

Quote of the Week

People may not remember exactly
what you did or what you said,
but they will always remember
how you made them feel



In Loving Memory of

Rabbi Shalom Mark

With Deep Appreciation to

Steven Saiontz


With Special Thanks to

Suzanne Gerard

With Great Gratitude to

Robert Kent Jones


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