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March 7, 2015 / conservadox

Dvar Torah: Vayakhel Pekudei (double portion but mainly the latter)

This coming week’s Torah portion is about the construction of the Tabernacle (as opposed to the directions for such construction in earlier portions, which of course is very similar to this portion).  Early in the second of our double portions, the Torah states that “All the gold… was twenty and nine talents” but does not mention what was done with the gold (Exodus 38:24).  By contrast, a few verses later the Torah mentions that silver was “for casting the sockets of the sanctuary, and the sockets of the veil” (38:27).  Why doesn’t the Torah mention the practical use for the gold donations?

Ibn Ezra suggests that the gold was brought merely as an atonement for the golden calf.  How should we feel about this?  On the one hand, there’s something distasteful about money being used as a get-out-of-free card; it seems to similar to medieval Catholic indulgence-selling.

But I think the Torah is trying to give us a dose of irony here.  The sin of the golden calf was committed with gold- so in a way, it makes sense in a “measure for measure” way for Jews to use gold for more useful purposes.


One Comment

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  1. Shira Salamone / Mar 12 2015 4:45 pm

    Gold for a *good* cause, this time. I like it.

    Here’s my own post

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