Pekudei: Remember the Count

"These are the accounts, pekudei, of the tabernacle, the tabernacle of testimony, as they were pukad, rendered, according the commandment of Moshe, through the service of the Levites, by the hand of Itamar the son of Aharon the high priest" (Shemot 35:1). The word pekudei, from the root pkd, seems a rather odd choice. Words such as meispar, number, or minyan, count, would seem more readily to convey the idea of counting.

Parshat Hachodesh: Timing is Everything

“In the first month of the second year on the first of the month, the Tabernacle was erected” (Shemot 40:2). Sefer Shemot concludes with the building of the Mishkan. As the Ramban notes (Introduction to Shemot), the Mishkan was the culmination of the Exodus, fulfilling the promise made to Avraham to make his descendants “into a great nation” (Breisheet 12:1). This meant physical freedom and independence but more importantly, the covenant of Sinai and the building of a symbolic resting-place for the Divine Presence, i.e., the Mishkan.

Parshat Shekalim (Pekudei): Pre-empting Haman

“Reish Lakish said: It was well known beforehand to Him at whose word the world came into being that Haman would one day pay shekels for the destruction of Israel. Therefore, He anticipated his shekels with the [half] shekel of Israel. And so we have learned, on the first of Adar, we announce [the obligation of giving] shekalim” (Megillah 13b). 

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