#TieBlog #Vayak’hel

20 Feb
The symbols of Shabbat

The symbols of Shabbat

Most of the last five portions of Exodus concern the construction of the Mishkan (Tabernacle). In the middle of these instructions is the Golden Calf narrative that was read in last week’s portion. Flanking the Golden Calf narrative on either side are instructions for observing Shabbat, the day of rest. Parashat Vayak’hel begins with the second of these expositions of Shabbat in this section. The Torah emphasizes that even the sacred work of constructing the Mishkan, representing a divine dwelling place, must not be done on Shabbat. The construction of the Mishkan must mirror God’s creation of the universe–six days of creation, followed by a day of rest. For a fuller exploration of the significance of the text’s juxtaposition of Shabbat and the construction of the Mishkan, read this week’s JTS Commentary by Dr. Eitan Fishbane. In the meantime, I will enjoy Shabbat with my Shabbat tie.

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