Parshat Vayakhel-Pekudei By: Rabbi Moshe Goodman, Kollel Ohr Shlomo, Hebron בס”ד
Discover the Holy Presence in the Holy Land
“And Moses Gathered”
This week’s Parsha begins with a word which lately may seem very distant to many of us: “vayakhel” – gathering of the people. With the limitations on gatherings of people due to Coronavirus on a physical level, this is a time to contemplate our People’s spiritual “gathering.” The fact that this Parsha begins with the gathering of the People in the context of the commandment upon the Shabbat suggests that Shabbat is also a type of spiritual gathering of the People regardless of where they physically live. First, we should prove that performing an action at a specified time is considered an element of unification. According to Gemara Brachot 7b, if one cannot pray literally in a minyan’s vicinity, nevertheless there is value in praying at the time when a minyan is praying as it says “and my prayer is unto You Hashem at a time of Will,” and a “time of Will” is when a minyan is praying. This teaching is also ruled in the Shulhan Aruch (Orach Haim 90). We may add that definitely holy days and especially the holiest day, the holy Shabbat, are definitely “times of Divine Will.” Therefore, by keeping the Shabbat all Jews are united together by this timeframe.
There is also another type of unification and “ingathering” hinted to by the juxtaposition of the gathering of Israel and Shabbat with the matters of the Mishkan which continue in this double-Parsha till the end of the book of Shemot. It is through the Mishkan/Beit Hamikdash that Israel is also united, as all men, without exception, must give the half-shekel towards the Mishkan/Beit HaMikdash. This Parsha also describes how all men and women also built the Mishkan on a voluntarily level as well. Also, the term for the City of the Temple, Jerusalem – “Talpiot” – means “tel” – mound – “piot” – “mouths, that all turn to”, as our Sages teach. Indeed, halachically speaking, all Jews must turn towards Jerusalem and to the Beit Hamikdash when praying.
Both in the sanctity of time and of place, the Holy Presence plays a dominant role. On Shabbat, we call this Presence the “Shabbat Queen” (as is also mentioned in the Talmud) and in the Mishkan/Beit Hamikdash this Presence is simply called the Shechina. The souls of Israel are like “sparks from the “Great Fire” of the Holy Presence. Therefore, we can more deeply understand the previous teachings that when or where the power of the Holy Presence is greatened then or there resides a unifying Force, the Holy Presence, the source of all our souls.
Hebron too, the City of Unity, the City of our Common Roots, and a focal point of the Holy Presence is definitely an important part of this unification, throughout the expanses of space and time. By “ingathering” spiritually at this time through Hebron may we also be invigorated towards national and spiritual renewal as this Parshat “Hahodesh” hints, hodesh=hadash- renewal.
Miracles from the Holy Land: The Battle of Mishmar HaEmek:
On April 4th, 1948, the odds were not in Israel’s favor. Outnumbered ten to three and with artillery shells raining down on them, a few hundred Jewish residents and soldiers managed to hold off about one thousand troops of the Arab Liberation Army. The Arabs had attacked the kibbutz, Mishmar Haemek, with the intent of taking it for the strategic location in between Jenin and Haifa. All hope seemed lost, yet surrender was not acceptable. Miraculously, the highly outnumbered Jewish forces managed to go on the offensive, successfully taking over the Arab villages surrounding the kibbutz. This attack led to the Arab Liberation Army’s retreat and was the last significant stand of the Arab Liberation Front in the Israeli War of Independence.
May the merit of learning this piece be beneficial towards the cure of those sick and salvation from the Coronavirus pandemic, amen.