Sedra of the week: Vayakhel-Pikudei

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Sedra of the week: Vayakhel-Pikudei

 Rabbi Naftali Schiff looks ahead to this week's portion of the Torah

In Vayakhel-Pikudei, the creative and collective efforts of the Jewish people come together to create a transportable building serving as a focal place of connection between man and God on earth. But something strange occurs as the Tabernacle is about to be set up. It is too heavy and unwieldy. No one can lift the beams and assemble the structure. 

After everyone has tried, God instructs Moses to do so. Without flinching, he steps up and recites a verse from Psalms. The whole structure comes together at his hands with incredible ease.

The “magical” verse begins with the words: “May the pleasantness of Hashem rest upon us and all the work of our hands be focused in the right direction….”

Life is replete with attempts to achieve a goal or a certain outcome that seems to end
nowhere. This can be deflating. 

In physics, the first law of conservation of energy means energy can neither be created nor destroyed; it can only be transformed or transferred. 

On a spiritual plane, the same is also true. Moses has rallied a disparate people and spurred them on to achieving a collective dream. They have expended enormous effort, only to be faced with despair at the finishing line. 

But energy is never lost! The good deeds we do, the blessings we make, our prayers for the sick are never lost. We may not see where they land or the immediate impact they have, but spiritual energy is never futile.  

The master designer and builder receives every prayer, mitzvah and bit of goodness and the building is built. 

  •  Rabbi Naftali Schiff is the founder and chief executive of Jewish Futures

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