Midreshet Amit


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The Indivudual and The Community

By: Lily Jacobs and Gabi Alter

Sefer Shemot powerfully concludes with Parshat Pekudei where the construction of the mishkan is completed. From the exact amount of shekels that B’nei Israel had to contribute to the exact materials of the Kohen’s breastplate, this parsha carefully articulates the specifications given to Moshe and B’nei Israel by God in order to create the perfect sanctuary. Two underlying themes that can be seen throughout the Parsha is the concept of Am Israel.

When it came to building the mishkan, it was not only Betzalel who helped, but everyone else too. Men, women, and even children used their skills to build and beautify the mishkan. Everyone felt that his or her contribution was needed in order to complete the structure. Essentially all of Bnei Israel worked as a nation to build a sanctuary that would allow them to serve and bring them closer to God.

The aspect of Am Israel can also be seen with the Machatzit Ha’shekel and the Choshen. Machatzit Ha’Shekel represented the uniformity of the nation, and that regardless of any particular individual’s status, everyone is the same in that we are all Jews. Everyone, even the Kohen Gadol, had to put in the same half shekel towards the mishkan. The individuality component can be seen with the Choshen. The people working with each other make up the uniqueness of each tribe, and the individual tribes make up the nation. There are twelve different stones on the Choshen, representing the twelve tribes and their different functions, and they are all placed on one plate symbolizing the oneness of the Jewish people. Without one tribe, the Choshen would not be complete.

In Amit, each girl has come together to learn and grow. Within our Mechanechet groups, everyone has something different to contribute, which helps the group as a whole develop. Parshat Pekudei is the perfect parsha to end the sefer because it demonstrates how far B’nei Israel has come. Throughout the majority of the sefer, we see the struggle B’nei Israel has with their faith in God, yet here we see the dramatic change in that they are building the sanctuary for God. They are finally becoming the nation that God has wanted them to become.