Pekuday, the Children of Israel
As we sit and watch the news, unable to comprehend the images coming through our various different social media platforms, it is incredible to watch a country unifying before our very eyes. Ukraine under siege, Ukraine under attack, and Ukraine defiant in the face of the onslaught. In the not too distant past, a conflict like this would have been hidden behind the shroud of distance and official coverage blackouts. More and more, the world is connected to such a point that these former official channels of information have given way to more direct and personal outlets. We all can be directly connected to people all over the world. How we use those tools of connection however will determine what kind of society we wish to build.
In this week’s parasha, Pekuday, the Children of Israel are nearing the task of completion of the construction of the Mishkan (Tabernacle). The Israelites are at the cusp of redefining their culture and structure of their society. The Mishkan will now take centre stage in their religious lives, with the High Priest officiating at and being the conduit between them and God. However, I would argue that this structure is not meant to introduce a new way for worship but simply a new tool to build further on that which they have been developing. When the Israelites became totally dependent on Moses as their only avenue for contact to God, his absence two weeks ago drove them to the construction of the Golden Calf. While understandable, it was a fundamental misunderstanding of the relationship. The essence of the community was not a simple top down hierarchy with God at the pinnacle followed by Moses and then the people left at the bottom. It was meant to be an interlocking society with strong bonds within as its core. The introduction of the Mishkan was meant to reinforce this. All were asked to contribute to the materials needed and all were commanded to assist in its construction. And now, as it is nearing completion, all will be responsible for its integration into the society. The relationships of the people should not be supplanted but strengthened. It is a tool to be used, not an object to replace anything.
Just as the point of the Mishkan was to involve and include all the Israelites in a direct relationship with one another, these tools that we now rely on are not simply meant to be a means of information, a one way flow of information. They can and must be used to facilitate real connections with people, to better build a world where we are connected. In our weekly email, there are links to assist those who are under attack. I urge you to please click on at least one of them and make a connection with someone who is desperate for that reminder that they are not alone. Let us use the tools we have in a righteous way, to not just consume information but to connect and support one another and build a better world.
Rabbi Rafi Kaiserblueth
7 Ocean Street
Woollahra, NSW 2025
p: 02 9389 6444
Shabbat, October 31, 2020
13th of Cheshvan, 5781
Friday, October 9 6:57PM
Motzei Shabbat 7:03PM
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