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    Living & giving – P’kudei

    Depiction of the Tabernacle from the Foster Bible Pictures, 1897

    This Shabbat we come to the end of the Book of Sh’mot. After a fast-paced beginning the book seems to end slowly and in pedestrian fashion. In these last few chapters nothing appears to happen. All we get is dry architectural detail. We are told how to build a tabernacle, and how the tabernacle was built. No drama, no action, no human interest.

    We read it because we have to, it seems, not because we have anything to learn.

    Yet in its own way even the architectural section of the book has its lesson. Consider the dramatis personae. They may not offer much in the way of charisma, but we can still derive something from their part in the story.

    There is B’tzalel, the ideas man, able to fire others with his enthusiasm. There is Oholiav, the organiser and craftsman, able to translate ideas into practical reality. There are the generous donors whose freewill offerings make the project possible. There are the skilled workmen who do the painstaking work. There are the women of the community with their loving effort to make the sanctuary beautiful.

    Without any of these categories, nothing would have happened.

    What do we learn? That the community needs every one of us, wherever we fit in the spectrum, and our mode of living and giving makes all the difference.

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