Vayak’hel (He Assembles)

The Wilderness Tabernacle

Exodus 35:1 And gathered together Moses אֶת־ all the congregation of the Children of Israel and said to them, These are the words which יהוה has commanded that you should do אֹתָם them. 2 Six days will work be done, but the seventh day will be a sacred day, a Sabbath of rest to ליהוה: whoever does work on it will be put to death. 3 You will kindle no fire throughout your dwellings upon the Sabbath day. C-MATS

Question: What does it mean, “You will kindle no fire throughout your dwellings upon the Sabbath day”? This verse comes right after the law to not work on Sabbath. The word “kindle” means to start a fire by lighting wood or paper. Only collecting and gathering wood for a fire is considered “work”. Cooking from scratch would be forbidden, if you must work by collecting wood to start a fire. Reheating food left over from the Sabbath meal seems not to be prohibited.   We are expected to make every possible effort to prepare for the Sabbath ahead of time to keep it from being just another day of laborious work. There is no prohibition against enjoying the light and heat of a candle or other source of light where work is not involved.

Question: Why does the Torah place the commandment to cease work on Shabbat next to the work of the Tabernacle? It is to teach the Israelites that nothing is more important than keeping Sabbath, even completing the Tabernacle. Thus the Tabernacle not only defines the type of work forbidden on Shabbat, but also the type of work the Israelite is engaged in on the other six days of the week: the work of building a home for יהוה out of the materials of our own physical life. (Chumash)

Question: Are you in need of a Sabbath rest? We rarely turn off our electronically/digitally charged lives causing us “techno-stress”. Even though technology enables us to do many things at the same time, our brains become overloaded. We find ourselves unable to think clearly and we become forgetful and incapable of having a restful sleep as the stimulation from the overload keeps our brain working overtime. We have more stress than ever before.

Common effects of stress …
On your body On your moodOn your behavior
Headache Muscle tension or pain Chest pain Fatigue Change in sex drive Stomach upset Sleep problemsAnxiety Restlessness Lack of motivation or focus Irritability or anger Sadness or depressionOvereating or under eating Angry outbursts Drug or alcohol abuse-self medicating Tobacco use Social

We are addicted to the pride of busyness. Do you always have to be busy? Do you always have to be entertained? Are you uncomfortable when you are quiet without music or people?

Spiritual Exercise: Have a real Sabbath rest…cut off the phone, computer, music, connection with the world, and rest your mind and body. Find refreshment in יהוה and reenergize. The remainder of the week will be much better. What you give to יהוה on Sabbath, He will give back to you the rest of the week.