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Pekudei, Pekude, Pekudey, P’kude, or P’qude (פקודי — Hebrew for "amounts of,” the second word, and the first distinctive word, in the parshah) is the 23rd weekly Torah portion (parshah) in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the 11th and last in the Book of Exodus. It constitutes Jews in the Diaspora read it the 22nd or 23rd Sabbath after Simchat Torah, generally in March.
The lunisolar Hebrew calendar contains up to 54 weeks, the exact number varying between leap years and regular years. In years with 54 weeks (for example, 2011, 2014, and 2016), parshah Pekudei is read separately. In years with fewer than 54 weeks (for example, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2017), parshah Pekudei is combined with the previous parshah, Vayakhel, to help achieve the needed number of weekly readings.
At Moses’ direction, Aaron’s son Ithamar oversaw the accounts of the Tabernacle, and the text sets forth the amounts of gold, silver, and copper that Bezalel, Oholiab, and their coworkers used. ( ) The silver came from the half-shekel a head for each man 20 years old and older who was counted in the census. ( ) Bezalel, Oholiab, and their coworkers made the priests’ vestments, the ephod, the breastpiece, the robe, the tunics of fine linen, and the frontlet inscribed “Holy to the Lord” — just as God had commanded Moses. ( ) Then they brought the Tabernacle and all its furnishings to Moses, and he blessed them. ( )
When Moses finished the work, the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and God’s Presence filled the Tabernacle. ( ) When the cloud lifted from the Tabernacle, the Israelites would set out, and when the cloud did not lift, they would not set out. ( ) And God’s cloud rested over the Tabernacle by day, and fire would appear in it by night, throughout the Israelites’ journeys. ( )
In classical rabbinic interpretation
Exodus chapter 38
Rabbi Tanchuma said in the name of Rav Huna that when reported that “Bezalel . . . made all that the Lord commanded Moses,” the verse did not say “that Moses commanded Bezalel,” and thus the verse taught that Bezalel was able to conceive on his own exactly what God told Moses at Sinai, even though Bezalel did not hear it from Moses. (Jerusalem Talmud Peah 5a.)
Doing the math implied by Joshua 14:7, and 1 Chronicles 2:19–20, the Gemara deduced that in earlier generations, a boy of eight could father children. reports that “Bezalel, son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, made all that the Lord had commanded Moses,” when they built the Tabernacle. And reports that Caleb fathered the Hur who fathered Uri who fathered Bezalel. reports that “wise men . . . wrought all the work of the Sanctuary,” so Bezalel must have been at least 13 years old to have been a man when he worked on the Tabernacle. A Baraita taught that Moses made the Tabernacle in the first year after the Exodus, and in the second, he erected it and sent out the spies, so the Gemara deduced that Bezalel must have been at least 14 years old when Moses sent out the spies, the year after Bezalel worked on the Tabernacle. And reports that Caleb said that he was 40 years old when Moses sent him to spy out the land. Thus, the Gemara deduced that Caleb was only 26 years older than his great-grandson Bezalel. Decucting two years for the three pregnancies needed to create the three intervening generations, the Gemara concluded that each of Caleb, Hur, and Uri must have conceived his son at the age of eight. (Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 69b.)
Rabbi Judah ben Simon taught that God required each of the Israelites to give a half-shekel (as reported in Genesis 37:28) their ancestors had sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for 20 shekels. (Genesis Rabbah 84:18.)) because (as reported in
Exodus chapter 39
Rabbi Judah ben Pazi noted that a similar word appears in both— where rakya is translated as “firmament” — and — where vayraku is translated as “and they flattened.” He thus deduced from the usage in that taught that on the second day of creation, God spread the heavens flat like a cloth. (Jerusalem Talmud Berakhot 6a.) Or Rabbi Judah ben Simon deduced from that meant “let a lining be made for the firmament.” (Genesis Rabbah 4:2.)
According to Maimonides and Sefer ha-Chinuch, there are no commandments in the parshah. (Maimonides. The Commandments: Sefer Ha-Mitzvoth of Maimonides. Translated by Charles B. Chavel, 2 vols. London: Soncino Press, 1967. ISBN 0-900689-71-4. Sefer HaHinnuch: The Book of [Mitzvah] Education. Translated by Charles Wengrov, 1:433. Jerusalem: Feldheim Pub., 1991. ISBN 0-87306-179-9.)
The haftarah for the parshah is:
On Shabbat Rosh Chodesh
On Shabbat Shekalim
When parshah Vayakhel is combined with parshah Pekudei, the haftarah is:
- for Ashkenazi Jews:
- for Sephardi Jews:
On Shabbat HaChodesh
On Shabbat HaChodesh, Jews readin which God commands that “This month [Nissan] shall be the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year” ( ), and in which God issued the commandments of Passover. ( ) Similarly, the haftarah in discusses Passover. In both the parshah and the haftarah, God instructs the Israelites to apply blood to doorposts. ( )
On Shabbat Parah
When the parshah coincides with Shabbat Parah (the special Sabbath prior to Passover — as it does in 2012 and 2015), the haftarah is:
- for Ashkenazi Jews:
- for Sephardi Jews:
On Shabbat Parah, the Sabbath of the red heifer, Jews read Numbers 19:1–22, which describes the rites of purification using the red heifer (parah adumah). Similarly, the haftarah in Ezekiel 36 also describes purification. In both the special reading and the haftarah in Ezekiel 36, sprinkled water cleansed the Israelites. ( )
The parshah has parallels or is discussed in these sources:
- Philo. Who Is the Heir of Divine Things? 26:131. Alexandria, Egypt, early 1st Century C.E.. Reprinted in, e.g., The Works of Philo: Complete and Unabridged, New Updated Edition. Translated by Charles Duke Yonge, 287. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Pub., 1993. ISBN 0-943575-93-1.
- Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 3:6:1–10:1. Circa 93–94. Reprinted in, e.g., The Works of Josephus: Complete and Unabridged, New Updated Edition. Translated by William Whiston, 85–95. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Pub., 1987. ISBN 0-913573-86-8.
- Tosefta: Zevachim 1:8; Menachot 7:7–8. Land of Israel, circa 300 C.E. Reprinted in, e.g., The Tosefta: Translated from the Hebrew, with a New Introduction. Translated by Jacob Neusner, 2:1310, 1434–35. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Pub., 2002. ISBN 1-56563-642-2.
- Genesis Rabbah 3:9; 4:2; 84:18. Land of Israel, 5th Century. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Genesis. Translated by H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, 1:25, 27; 2:783. London: Soncino Press, 1939. ISBN 0-900689-38-2.
- Jerusalem Talmud: Berakhot 6a; Peah 5a; Sukkah 8a, 27a. Land of Israel, circa 400 C.E. Reprinted in, e.g., Talmud Yerushalmi. Edited by Chaim Malinowitz, Yisroel Simcha Schorr, and Mordechai Marcus, vols. 1, 3, 22. Brooklyn: Mesorah Pubs., 2005–2009.
- Babylonian Talmud: Shabbat 28a, 87b; Yoma 4b, 6a, 12a–b, 32a, 71b; Sukkah 7b, 21a; Rosh Hashanah 3a; Taanit 29a; Megillah 29b; Yevamot 4b; Nedarim 38a; Sotah 37a, 38a; Sanhedrin 69b; Zevachim 19b, 22a, 58b, 119a–b; Menachot 62a, 98a, 99a; Chullin 138a; Bekhorot 5a, 44a; Arakhin 3b. Babylonia, 6th Century. Reprinted in, e.g., Talmud Bavli. Edited by Yisroel Simcha Schorr, Chaim Malinowitz, and Mordechai Marcus, 72 vols. Brooklyn: Mesorah Pubs., 2006.
- Exodus Rabbah 51:1–52:5. 10th Century. 10th Century. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Exodus. Translated by S. M. Lehrman, 3:562–81. London: Soncino Press, 1939. ISBN 0-900689-38-2.
- Rashi. Commentary. Exodus 38–40. Troyes, France, late 11th Century. Reprinted in, e.g., Rashi. The Torah: With Rashi’s Commentary Translated, Annotated, and Elucidated. Translated and annotated by Yisrael Isser Zvi Herczeg, 2:507–24. Brooklyn: Mesorah Publications, 1994. ISBN 0-89906-027-7.
- Judah Halevi. Kuzari. 3:23. Toledo, Spain, 1130–1140. Reprinted in, e.g., Jehuda Halevi. Kuzari: An Argument for the Faith of Israel. Intro. by Henry Slonimsky, 162. New York: Schocken, 1964. ISBN 0-8052-0075-4.
- Zohar 2:220a–269a. Spain, late 13th Century.
- Thomas Hobbes. Leviathan, 4:44. England, 1651. Reprint edited by C. B. Macpherson, 643. Harmondsworth, England: Penguin Classics, 1982. ISBN 0140431950.