In this week’s torah portion we read about the instructions for the census counting of the Jewish People through a half shekel (coin value), architects, ingredients for the anointing oil, incense, Sabbath laws, incident with the golden calf, not to worship idolatry, conquering land of Israel (discussion of treaties),law of first born males, law of first fruits, *Passover holiday, shavuoth holiday, breaking of the (Ten Commandment )tablets and the second set of (Ten Commandment) tablets.
*Passover is held in the Jewish month of Nissan because that is when we exited the land of egypt from our slavery.
How were the Jewish People counted?
A: Every man over twenty regardless of monetary wealth was obligated to give a half shekel in the counting of the Jewish people.
Who were the architects?
A: Betzalel and Oholiav were chosen as the architects for the following: table and it’s utensils, ark with covering, menorah and its utensils, washstand and base, high priest clothing, the clothing for Aaron’s sons( priests under Aaron the High Priest), anointing oil, incense for the holy sanctuary, alter of incense and alter olah with its utensils.
What is Sabbath?
G-d told Moses that the Sabbath should be kept as a sign between G-d and the Jewish people for generations. The Sabbath should be kept sacred. No work should be done on the Sabbath if so they will be cut off spiritually from his people and if they violate the Sabbath they will be put to death. The six day work week is meant to be utilized to take care of ones business/work. (In Israel Sunday is considered a regular work day) This should be considered a day of rest for all generations. The world was created in six days and on the seventh all work ceased. Many stories have been told at Sabbath tables about Jewish people that refused to work on Sabbath at the turn of the century. They would live with less for themselves and their family rather than work on Saturday. They were asked to work on Saturday and couldn’t. They refused to work on Saturday (Sabbath). One such story that will always be remembered for all time is just how special Sabbath is to the whole family. The story is about a special father/husband family man who would buy his wife and children a special dish every Friday in honor of the Sabbath. It is a custom that if one has a tasty food or makes a special cake that they save it for Sabbath. When they eat it they remark on how they are eating this article in honor of this special day of rest/Sabbath. This man had worked longer than usual on Friday. By the time he arrived at the village most merchants had already closed up shop. He saw the fisherman and all his fish waiting to be sold. The fisherman also knew that he had caught a very big fish that day and knew that the only person who would buy such a fish was this man. The fisherman was waiting for the man! The man arrived and asked what he has special for his family for Sabbath. The fisherman got all ecstatic and showed him this huge fish that was caught that day. He explained that it was quite expensive but it sure would make the Sabbath special. The man quickly bought it and had spent much of his pay check. He knew that his Sabbath table would be special with this item. He brought it home to his wife and explained how it was the most special dish left to buy at the time of purchase. She was happy and started cleaning the fish. In the other room the family was preparing the table and had adorned themselves with nice outfits in honor of the Sabbath. The wife exclaimed how inside the fish contained a huge diamond. The Sabbath was adorned with two huge items: diamond and fish. When one does a commandment/mitzvah they benefit as well. It’s similar to the concept of other mitzvahs as well like charity, shmitah (keeping the 7th year with out planting in the fields of Israel) .G-d says that we shouldn’t worry when we protect the commandments we also will benefit. When one keeps shmitah in Israel the farmers receive twice as much the following years to make up for the year of rest. When one gives charity they receive it back. Sabbath is a day of family and unity. We don’t wait till it’s a holiday to get together. On Sabbath we eat food, sing songs and have a chance to make conversation with siblings, parents and neighbors at our table. Men go to synagogue and hear the torah on Saturday mourning. Friday night we welcome the Sabbath at the synagogue. Woman light Sabbath candles a practice that our foremothers had done in their tents: Sarah, Rivkah, Rebecca and Leah.Many ladies have a habit of baking challah (bread) for Sabbath as well early Friday mourning. It’s delicious! Read more about the Sabbath and experience from Shabbat Across America (NJOP)
“Shabbat Across America/Canada” is an unparalleled display of unity and Ahavat Yisrael, created in the hope of making certain that every North American Jew will have the opportunity to celebrate Shabbat!
Imagine an entire Friday evening dinner devoted to people who want to know more about Judaism! Its an interactive prayer service, joyous Shabbat dinner complete with song, ritual and lively discussion. It is fun-filled evening of camaraderie that unifies Jews everywhere as one people. Tens of thousands of Jews at hundreds of locations across North America will celebrate Shabbat together on March 5, 2010, many for the first time! 1-888-SHABBAT
Have a Great Sabbath!