This weekend the FJMC's Sefer Haftarah will be at the B'nai Torah Congregation, Boca Raton, FL.
Next week it will be at Temple Bet Breira Samu-el Or Olom, Miami, FL.
This week's Unraveller is not yet sponsored.
The haftarah portions for Vayakhel-Pekudei in the FJMC Sefer Haftarah scroll, the travelling haftarah scroll that visits a different synagogue each week and contains all of the haftarot, were sponsored by the Tri-State Region of the FJMC, West End Synagogue, Nashville, TN, and Agudas Achim, San Antonio, TX.
FJMC New England Region
Hebrew Word Initiative
shall be put to death
Each week, a set of 5 words are chosen by volunteers from the parsha ha'shavoa.
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Conservative/Masorti Men at the Crossroads: Responding to a Changing World
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March 8, 2013
This commentary is a reprint of an original written and published in 2010 by Rabbi Charles Simon.
1 Kings 7:51-8:21
The haftarah for Vayakhel-Pekudei challenges our concept of sacred space.
Just a few weeks ago on February 20th the haftarah read in conjunction with parshat Terumah told us about the preparation that Solomon had to undergo in order to be able to build the Temple. He taxed and levied our people and contracted with Hiram King of Tyre for timber. Our story continues this morning because Solomon has finished his task. The completion of the Temple and the transfer of the Tent of Meeting to it reflects a major event in the history of our people. The haftarah for this parasha informs us how Solomon gathered our people and announced that this event fulfilled the promise made to his father David. David had desired to build God a house but God deferred the plan to a future descendant. (2. Samuel 7:12-13). With the Temple's dedication Solomon declares himself David's legitimate heir and with the placing of the Tent of Meeting in the Temple establishes Jerusalem as the sacred center of the nation.
Just as Moses constructed a place for God to dwell and a central institution around which the people rallied, so too did Solomon construct a central place of worship for Israel. In the first instance the Tent was portable and when God entered it a cloud settled over it. Similarly, when God dwelt in Jerusalem “the priests came out of the sanctuary because a cloud of the Lord covered it.”
The haftarah attempts to draw parallels to the Torah portion in order to legitimize a new form of worship and to strengthen Solomon's claim and reputation as a leader. Is it fair to compare Solomon to Moses? Is it fair to compare or the leadership of one age to another?
On a more mundane but important level nonetheless, consider the implications for community building that the construction of a sanctuary creates. Members of the community invest their time and their wealth in creating a sacred place for them to congregate, worship and study. When we consider community needs we need to ask which model would better serve our existing and potential constituency? A simple movable flexible structure or a fixed object constructed from wood and stone. Both serve important purposes. Each makes a statement to the Jewish and non-Jewish world. The haftarah of Vayakhel-Pekudei asks us to consider for whom do we wish to build and how do we wish it to be perceived.
This week's Haftarah commentary was written by
Rabbi Charles Simon, Executive Director of the FJMC and author of
"Building A Successful Volunteer Culture: Finding Meaning in Service in the Jewish Community" Jewish Lights Publishing, and "Understanding the Haftarot: Everyperson's Guide."
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