Below is a collection of Parashat Pekudei resources created by The Lookstein Center staff or contributed to the site by Jewish educators.
This is a growing collection. Check back soon or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you didn’t find what you’re looking for.
DISCUSSION AND REFLECTION QUESTIONS
Question #1: Why is it important to keep a record of everything? Imagine you are collecting money from all the members of your class to give a gift to your teacher. Is it important to keep a record of how much money you collected and how much money you paid? After all, you’re an honest person! Why would a record of the money make a difference? Parashat Pekudei begins with an accounting of all the gold, silver, and copper brought for the building of the Mishkan (tabernacle). Even though Moses was the holiest of prophets and leaders and everyone trusted him, he set a role model for good and honest leadership in listing all the amounts given.
Look inside the text (Shemot 38:24-25),
כָּל הַזָּהָ֗ב הֶֽעָשׂוּי לַמְּלָאכָה בְּכֹל מְלֶאכֶת הַקֹּדֶשׁ וַיְהִ֣י זְהַב הַתְּנוּפָה תֵּשַׁע וְעֶשְׂרִים כִּכָּר וּשְׁבַע מֵאוֹת וּשׁלשִׁ֛ים שֶׁקֶל בְּשֶׁקֶל הַקֹּדֶשׁ׃ – All the gold that was used for the work, in all the work of the sanctuary – the elevation offering of gold – came to 29 talents and 730 shekels by the sanctuary weight.
וְכֶסֶף פְּקוּדֵי הָעֵדָה מְאַת כִּכָּר וְאֶלֶף וּשְׁבַע מֵאוֹת וַחֲמִשָּׁה וְשִׁבְעִים שֶׁקֶל בְּשֶׁ֥קֶל הַקֹּֽדֶשׁ׃ – The silver of those of the community who were recorded came to 100 talents and 1,775 shekels by the sanctuary weight.
Question #2: Do you feel/act differently depending on what you’re wearing on your head? In Parashat Pekudei we read about the making of the clothing of the priests and the High Priest. The High Priest had a special gold band he wore on his head. What do you think it means to have to wear a band like that on your head? How might it affect you? Think of other items worn on a head – a yarmulke, tefillin (phylacteries), a crown, a clown’s hat – How might what you wear on your head affect a person? Think of some other examples.
Look inside the text (Shemot 39:30),
‘וַיַּעֲשׂוּ אֶת צִיץ נֶזֶר הַקֹּדֶשׁ זָהָב טָהוֹר וַיִּכְתְּבוּ עָלָיו מִכְתַּב פִּתּוּחֵי חוֹתָם קֹדֶשׁ לַה’ – The golden band he had to wear on his head was inscribed with the words, “Holy for God”.
Question #3: The most significant phrase in this entire parasha is כאשר צוה ה’ את משה – they did as God had commanded Moses. That phrase appears at the end of nearly every paragraph and emphasizes the extent to which the Israelites followed God’s commandments to a tee. At the same time, Betzalel, the architect of the Mishkan (Tabernacle), was given special wisdom – apparently to make a variety of decisions regarding the design and implementation of the construction. When is it good to simply follow orders and when is it more appropriate to be creative – or even to defy orders?
Question #4: The Torah goes to great lengths to account for every item donated for the construction of the Mishkan (Tabernacle). Should we demand more or less accounting from public institutions than from private ones? Which is worse, an individual who cheats on another in a business deal or someone who collects a welfare check without qualifying for assistance?