Vayakhel: A Summary of the Parashah

The Israelites bring so many materials for the construction of the Tabernacle that Moses tells them to stop; Bezalel and Oholiab, gifted craftspeople, construct the elements of the Tabernacle.

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He made the lamp stand of pure gold with seven lamps also of pure gold. He made the incense altar and its poles of acacia wood and overlaid it with pure gold. Bezalel then expertly prepared the sacred anointing oil and the pure aromatic incense.

Bezalel made the altar for burnt offerings of acacia wood with horns for the four corners and overlaid the altar and the wooden poles with copper. He made all the utensils of the burnt offering altar--the pails, basins, flesh hooks and fire pans--also of copper. Bezalel made the basins of copper from the mirrors of the women who had gathered at the entrance of the Tent of Appointed Meeting.

Bezalel made an enclosure for the Tent of Appointed Meeting with specific hangings on each side of fine, twisted linen of blue and purple and crimson, with silver hooks and copper posts.

Questions for Discussion

1) At the beginning of this portion, Moses specifically says that working on the Sanctuary for God may not be done on the Sabbath. If this work is done on the Sabbath, it is punishable by death. Do you think death is a just or unjust punishment? Why?

2) The Israelite people brought so many gifts for the making of God’s Sanctuary that they had to be restrained from bringing more. As a giver of gifts to God, what do you do: give extra, give the exact amount, give just enough, or try to get away with giving a little less?

3) “God has filled Bezalel and Oholiab with the spirit of God, with wisdom, insight, knowledge and talent for all manner of craftsmanship and the ability to teach.” What has God filled you with? How do you use it?

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Nancy Reuben Greenfield

Nancy Reuben Greenfield has written three adaptations of the Torah, including an
interactive family version at, and an engaging
Jewish immigrant novel, The Golden Medina, available on itunes and Amazon.