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Vayakhel(Exodus 35:1-38:20)

Vayakhel-Pekudei 5778

GOOD MORNING!  Our Sages instruct us to start preparing for a holiday 30 days beforehand. Pesach (Passover) begins Friday evening, March 30th.

Many Jewish holidays have been humorously described as: "They wanted to kill us. We won. Let's eat." If you'd like to have your Pesach Seder to be more than "Can we skip this part of the Hagaddah ... and Let's eat!", then this week's edition will be of help. Your Seder can be an even more enjoyable, memorable and warm family experience --if you put the time into preparing!

How does one get his/her children to feel positively about being Jewish? You cannot transfer your feelings, but you can create the atmosphere and the experience which will engender positive feelings. Many people who love being Jewish, fondly reminisced about their Zaideh (grandfather) presiding over the Shabbat table or their Bubbie (grandmother) lighting Shabbat candles ... and their Seder! You are a link in that chain!

Q & A: How Do I Make My Seder Enjoyable,
Creative and Meaningful?

Remember that the Seder is for the kids, to transmit our history and understanding of life. You've got to make it interesting and intrigue them to ask questions. If a person asks a question, he'll be inclined to hear the answer! The only way to transmit your love and feeling for Judaism is through shared, positive experiences. You need to be excited about the Seder! Some ideas from Rabbi Shimon Apisdorf:

1. Invest time before the Seder. Trade in your Maxwell House Hagaddah for one with commentary. Then read it! Visit a Jewish book store and see what intrigues you. Look at a commentary to get interesting insights to share with your family and guests. A few suggestions: Judaism in a Nutshell: Passover, Artscroll Haggadahs and The Exodus You Almost Passed Over by Rabbi David Fohrman. Also, excellent materials including an audio guide "How to Conduct the Passover Seder" are available at!

2. Get Passover story books for the kids now! Read to them the stories before Pesach. Have them or help them make a little play to present at the Seder. Buy them Artscroll Children's Hagaddah!

3. Have quizzes and prizes. Ask questions and give 20 points for a right answer. 100 points and they get a prize! Start with the youngest and work up through the ages. If a child answers a question that's not his, he loses 20 points! Name: the plagues, the 4 sons, the number of years in slavery -- make your list of questions before the Seder. (You can even prep the kids before the Seder with the answers!)

4. Plan out the Seder with little surprises and props. During the section on the plagues throw into the air plastic animals when you get to the Wild Beasts; use ping pong balls for the plague of Hail. Be creative. Give each child a brown paper bag filled with his props. Have fun! (you can also order the "Bag of Plagues" props available at your local Jewish bookstore -- or or assemble your own!)

5. Delegate. Give your kids or guests a small part of the Haggadah to prepare. They can look at a Haggadah with commentary -- or go to and search. It involves them and makes them a part of the Seder rather than being an observer.

6. Have questions for discussion at the table! Passover marks the birth of the Jewish people. It's a time to reflect on the meaning, value and implications of being Jewish. Here are some questions to discuss:

  1. On a scale of 1-10, how important is being Jewish to you? Please explain.
  2. If your son, daughter, brother, sister, or best friend told you that they planned to raise their children without any Jewish education or identity, how would you react?
  3. If you thought the existence of Israel was in danger, would you risk your life to help save it?
  4. What do you like about being Jewish? What don't you like?
  5. Is it important to you or for your children to have mostly Jewish friends? Why?

7. Spend time at and! Be sure to see the Aish videos "Passover Rhapsody" and ... "The Google Exodus" --What would the Exodus have looked like if Moses had the internet?


Torah Portion of the week

Vayak'hel-Pekudey, Exodus 35:1 - 40:38

Moshe relays the Almighty's commands to refrain from building the Mishkan (the Tabernacle or Portable Sanctuary) on the Shabbat, to contribute items needed to build the Mishkan, to construct the components of the Mishkan and the appurtenances of the Cohanim. The craftsmen are selected, the work begins. The craftsmen report that there are too many donations, and for the first and probably the only time in fundraising history, the Jewish people are told to refrain from bringing additional contributions!

Pekudey includes an accounting of all the materials that went into the making of the Mishkan and details of the construction of the clothing of the Cohanim. The Tabernacle is completed, Moses examines all of the components and gives his approval to the quality and exactness of construction, the Almighty commands to erect the Tabernacle, it's erected and the various vessels are placed in their proper place.

* * *

Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

After being told to anoint his brother Aharon (Aaron), Moshe was told in reference to Aharon's sons:

"And you shall anoint them as you anointed their father" (Exodus 40:15).

Why did the Almighty give Moses this special instruction?

Rabbi Meir Simcha HaCohen explains in his commentary Meshech Hachmah that when Moses was told to anoint his brother Aaron, he was able to do it with a complete heart. Moses, the younger brother, was the leader of the Israelites and was happy that his brother was the High Priest. However, in reference to Aaron's sons, the situation was different. Moses' own sons were not going to succeed him as leaders. So, when it came to anointing Aaron's sons, Moses might have felt envy. Therefore, the Almighty told Moses to anoint Aaron's sons with the same whole heartedness and joy with which he anointed their father.

Our lesson: If even a person as great as Moses needs to internalize attitudes to avoid envy, all the more so do we! Also, it IS possible to feel joy and enthusiasm for another person's success even if he has something that you do not.


Candle Lighting Times

March 9
(or go to

Jerusalem 5:07
Guatemala 5:54 - Hong Kong 6:12 - Honolulu 6:21
J'Burg 6:13 - London 5:36 - Los Angeles 5:39
Melbourne 7:31 - Mexico City 6:27 - Miami 6:09
New York 5:38 - Singapore 7:00 - Toronto 5:58

Quote of the Week

Success is when
preparation meets opportunity!



In Memory
of My Mother

Carol Gerber

With Love,
Steve and Lisa Gerber
With Tremendous Appreciation to

Sam Pearson



Click here for
An Amazing Story!

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Kalman Packouz

Copyright © 2018 Rabbi Kalman Packouz

March 4, 2018

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