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D'var Torah:
Weekly Torah Portion Commentary

Pekudei - 3/13/24

There is a connection between remembering and accounting. When we forget, we say we “lose track.”  When we remember, we “take account.” 

The name of this week’s Torah portion, Pekudei, is rendered “records,” or formalized accountings.  “These are the records (or the formalized accountings) of the Tabernacle.” (Exodus 38:21) In Genesis, when it is time for Isaac to be born, (Gen 21:1) the same root is used to show that God made good on the Divine Promise to Sarah that she would bear a son. “God remembered Sarah.” Here the verb root p-k-d is rendered “remembered” or “paid attention to.”  Is there any connection between these definitions, based on the same three-letter Hebrew root? 

The midrash may give us a clue:  The sages say that this detailed accounting at the end of Exodus is so that Moses can show that he and the other leaders were honest in their handling of all of the gold and silver that was contributed for the Mishkan.  In fact, in the time of the Temple it is said that the person “who supervised the shekel offerings would wear a special garment with no pockets and no long sleeves” so that no one could suspect him of taking any. (Song of Songs Rabbah 3:7) Just as God made good on a promise to Sarah, Moses and all those in leadership had make good on a promise to steward the people’s possessions, having built a place fitting for God’s presence.  They showed that they remembered that commitment to the people with a full accounting in Pekudei. 

- Rabbi Dena A. Feingold


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