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Parshat Pekudei

By: Lila Halpern

This week's parsha, Parshat Pekudei, is the last Parsha in Sefer Shmot, which has followed the creation of the Jews as a nation, their exodus from Egypt, and the receiving of the Torah. Last week's Parshat Vayakhel and this week's Parshat Pekudei form a unit that discusses the Mishkan, the holy Tabernacle that was the original "moving Beit Hamikdash". But while last week was about the building of all of the vessels of the Mishkan, this week discuses the gold, silver and other materials that were donated for the Mishkan. The Parsha (and Sefer) concludes with the final preparation of the Mishkan and Hashem's Shechina resting among the Jewish people.

In the first pasuk of the parsha, it says "these are the reckonings of the Mishkan". The following pesukim go on to make an account of everything that was donated for the Mishkan and how it was used. Why does the Torah take such care to make sure every single detail is accounted for?

According to Rav Moshe Feinstein, this concept is a mashal (parable) that we all need to apply to our own lives. Every detail of every ounce of material was of utmost importance, and so too should be all of our possessions. The most important thing that Hashem gave us is time, and this accounting of all of the materials is here to show us that we need to value our time and use it wisely to serve Hashem.

Another interpretation is that the tally of the items in the Mishkan had two dimensions; to count what resources were available, and how each of those resources was put to use. This can also be applied to our own lives. There are two steps to leading a meaningful life. First we have to find out our true potential in order to know what we are capable of, and then we must check ourselves and make sure that we are using our full potential in every aspect of our lives.

These two concepts can really make a person stop and think about their life. Hashem gave us the gift of time, but does everyone really utilize that time wisely? Hashem gave us the potential to do so many mitzvot and to change the world, but does everyone take advantage of that? The answer to both of these questions is often not. But that doesn't have to be so. We all need to take a few moments of our precious gift of time and figure out the true potential that Hashem has given us. But that isn't the end. We need to take that time and that potential and use them together in order to better serve Hashem and make the world a better place.

Lila comes to AMIT from Silver Spring, MD and plans on attending University of Maryland next year. In her own words, "My favorite class is "Tehillim and Tefilla" with Mrs. Havi Bitter because it makes my Tefilla so much more meaningful now that I understand what the words mean and what the ideas are all about."