Vayakhel Pekudei

As work begins on the Tabernacle, it is limited by the command to rest – a gift, a warning. “Six days shall you work; the seventh shall be holy to you, a Shabbat of complete rest.” There are two contradicting relationships possible between Shabbat and the work-week. Shabbat can ripple out and permeate the week with rest, putting work into healthy perspective. It can also highlight the importance of work: everything forbidden on Shabbat must be done during the week. How to live this paradox, creating and improving the world, while accepting it as it is? Maybe by seeing work as a realisation of divine potential. Anything destroying this potential moves us away from Shabbat-consciousness, anything that reveals it is blessed.

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[Inspired by: Exodus 35; Abarbanel on Vayakhel; Tikkunei Hazohar 86a; and Vincent van Gogh’s Young Peasant with Sickle.]

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