Below is a collection of Parashat Vayakhel 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: What does it mean to do something “with all your heart”? When you do something or make something for your parent or friend, do you do it with “all your heart”? What makes it special? In Parashat Vayakhel, we read about how the Jewish people were very enthusiastic about contributing to the building of the Mishkan (Tabernacle). So much so that they had to be told to stop bringing gifts because they were so generous. In these verses, the word heart – לב, לבו,לבם – appears many times. Why do you think it’s repeated so many times?
Look inside the text (Shemot 36:5),
וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֶל משֶׁה לֵּאמֹר מַרְבִּים הָעָם לְהָבִיא מִדֵּי הָעֲבֹדָה לַמְּלָאכָה אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה ה’ לַעֲשׂת אֹתָהּ – and God said to Moses, “The people are bringing more than is needed for the work needed in the work that God has commanded to be done.”
Question #2: Can the design of an object teach an important lesson? In this parasha, we read about the making of the Tabernacle. The Ark had a special cover of gold which had two kruvim (cherubs) on it. The kruvim had wings that spread upwards and they faced each other on top of the Ark. There is a Midrash that one had the face of a girl, and one of a boy. When the Jewish people were just and obeyed the laws of God, they faced each other. When the Jewish people sinned, they turned their heads away. The Ark was the holiest object in the Tabernacle. It had the Tablets inside and was kept in the Holy of Holies. Why would it be designed with the face of a girl and boy looking at each other? Is this the holiest image possible? What do you think is the connection between the cover of the Ark and what was inside?
Look inside the text (Shemot 37:9),
וַיִּהְיוּ הַכְּרֻבִים פֹּרְשֵׂי כְנָפַיִם לְמַעְלָה סֹכֲכִים בְּכַנְפֵיהֶם עַל הַכַּפֹּרֶת וּפְנֵיהֶם אִישׁ אֶל אָחִיו אֶל הַכַּפֹּרֶת הָיוּ פְּנֵי הַכְּרֻבִים – The kruvim had their wings spread out above, shielding the cover with their wings. They faced each other; the faces of the kruvim were turned toward the cover.
Question #3: Moses calls for donations to help construct the Mishkan (Tabernacle) and the response is so overwhelming that he needs to ask for people to stop bringing. What brings people to such a level of zeal that they rise way beyond the level of expectation? When is that level of zeal a good thing and when does it become dangerous? How can we tell the difference?
Question #4: There is incredible precision in designing and building the Mishkan (Tabernacle). Like a very complex Lego construction, if the pieces are off by just a fraction of an inch (or millimeter) things won’t fit properly or the entire project won’t be stable. Precision gives us a sense of beauty, almost of a quest for perfection. What is the price we pay for pursuing that precision? Is it always worth it? Is it possible to achieve that same kind of precision and perfection in our human interactions?