P’Kudei (Accounts)

Column of fire by night

Exodus 38:21 This is the sum of the Tabernacle, the Tabernacle of Testimony, as it was recorded, according to the commandment of Moses, by the service of the Levites, under the direction of Ithamar, son to Aaron the priest. C-MATS 

Question: Who was Ithamar? Ithamar was the youngest of the four sons of Aaron (Exodus 6:23). He was consecrated as a priest along with his father and three brothers – Nadab, Abihu and Eleazar (Exodus 28:1). His job was to number the articles collected for the Tabernacle (Ex.38:21) and to supervise two priestly families, the Gershonites and the Merarites (Numbers 4:21-33).  The priestly family founded by him included the high priest Eli and his descendants. Although Ithamar’s family eventually lost the high priesthood, it continued as a priestly family after the Babylonian captivity (Ezra 8:2).

Question: How was the Tabernacle different from the First and Second Temple? Unlike the two Temples that were sacked and destroyed, Moses’ Tabernacle remained intact and was never captured or desecrated. Those who led the work, as represented by Bezaleel, were men of distinguished lineage and outstanding righteousness. Solomon’s Temple, by contrast, was built [in great measure] by non-Hebrew workmen. Consequently, although the Shechinah rested upon it, its parts became worn with time and required repair and replacement. The Second Temple was built only thanks to the benevolence of King Cyrus, and it never had the Tablets or the Shechinah. Both Temples fell into enemy hands, were looted, and destroyed. Compared to the gold and silver that were used in the Temples of Solomon and Herod, the amounts listed in the Tabernacle were insignificant. Nevertheless, the Tabernacle surpassed both Temples in importance to יהוה. This proves that יהוה rests His Presence not where there is wealth, but where there is righteousness. (Chumash)

Exodus 38:22 And Bezaleel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur of the tribe of Judah, made את all that commanded יהוה את־ Moses. C-MATS

Question: Who was Bezaleel? Bezaleel means “in the shadow of יהוה”. So great was Bezaleel that he did not act only at Moses’ command; Bezaleel even knew instructions that יהוה had commanded Moses, but that Moses had not conveyed to Bezaleel. “You must have been in יהוה‘s shadow when He spoke to me,” Moses said to Bezaleel. (Chumash)

Bezalel was filled with יהוה’s Spirit, a rare occurrence in Old Testament times. (I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled אֹתֹו him with the spirit of Elohim, in wisdom, understanding, knowledge and in all manner of craftsmanship. Exodus 31:2-3)  יהוה’s Spirit empowered Bezalel with talent and intelligence, giving them the ability to work in every kind of crafting, including woodwork, stonework, metalwork, engraving, embroidery, and weaving. The Spirit’s empowering gave Bezalel skill to work with the raw materials and to form the artistic designs. Bezalel himself constructed the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 37:1 And made Bezaleel את־ the Ark of acacia wood). In addition, יהוה inspired Bezalel to teach all the other craftsmen who had been given special skill by יהוה. Together the craftsmen were able to complete the Tabernacle according to יהוה’s specifications.