Parsha Talk Vayakhel Pekudei – Hachodesh

Parsha Talk with Rabbis Eliot Malomet, Barry Chesler and Jeremy Kalmanofsky. Parashat Va-yaqhel-P’qudai [Exodus 35–40], a double portion, concludes the reading of the Book of Exodus in the synagogue. This year it coincides with Shabbat Ha-Hodesh, observed on Shabbat Rosh Hodesh Nisan, or on the Shabbat when the new month of Nisan is announced, as is the case this year. The month of Nisan officially begins on Wednesday night, March 22, so that Passover, and the first seder, begins two weeks later on April 5. Shabbat Ha-Hodesh has a special maftir [Exodus 12:1–20] and haftarah [Ezekiel 45:16–46:18].
The Torah reading primarily concerns itself with the execution of the mishkan, or Tabernacle. Whereas T’rumah and T’tzavveh concern themselves with the description of how the mishkan will be built, this week’s parashiyot concern themselves with the actual building. Last week’s parashah, Ki Tissa, features the tragedy of the Golden Calf. In our conversation this week we seek to understand the precise nature of the tragedy, and what it might mean to be placed, quite deliberately, between the description of how to build the mishkan and its actual building. We also discuss the significance of the maftir, a description of Pesach mitzrayim, the observance on that fateful night in Egypt, as opposed to Pesach le-dorot, Pesach as it is supposed to be observed in subsequent years.
As always, comments, critiques, and questions are welcome here and at [email protected]. Shabbat Shalom!