This week’s parashaParashas Pekudei, continues to talk about the Mishkan, the Tabernacle. The beginning of the parasha lists for us the various materials and quantities used to build the Mishkan, including the vessels and the garments of the kohanim/priests.Parashas Pekudei

Upon completion of the building of the Mishkan, Moshe Rabbeinu inspects the job. Upon his approval, Hashem commands that the Mishkan can be set up for use. With Moshe Rabbeinu‘s help, it is indeed erected. It is a glorious structure, and Hashem’s presence comes down to fill it and dwell among the Jewish people!

With this, we complete the Book of Shemos, and we all proclaim, “Chazak! Chazak! Venischazeik!” or “Be strong! Be strong! And may we be strengthened!”

This Shabbos we will also read Parashas Shekalim, a special parasha read for maftir (the last aliyah, section of the Torah portion read in shul on Shabbos) on the last Shabbos before the month of Adar!

Parashas Shekalim tells us about the counting of the Jewish people. Each person gives half a shekel (that’s the ancient kind, not the modern Israeli shekel!) as a contribution for the Mishkan. Each coin is counted and the total tells us how many men, aged twenty and up, there currently are in the Jewish people!

The Torah tells us that the actual erection of the Mishkan, of the Tabernacle, couldn’t happen until Moshe Rabbeinu came and did it. Why is this? While all of the Jewish people had contributed materials for the building of the Mishkan and a variety of artisans had participated in creating it, Moshe Rabbeinu didn’t yet have an actual part in the physical building of the Mishkan.

Hashem knew how much Moshe Rabbeinu wanted a part in the building, so He made it that only Moshe Rabbeinu himself would be able to erect the walls of the Mishkan so he would have participated in the building as well.

As with every project, when building a dwelling place for the Divine Presence among the Jewish People, teamwork was of utmost importance. However, Hashem shows us never to lose sight of each individual person, his or her wants, desires, abilities, and most importantly – feelings.

Milwaukee’s girls high school, Torah Academy of Milwaukee, has been working hard to create an Exhibit of the Five Megillos, five of the books of Tanach, including Shir HaShirimRusEichahKoheles, and Esther, for the last few months. My oldest sister is in charge of it and my two younger sisters are intensely involved, so I’ve heard tons about it. One of the biggest things that they’ve had to be careful about throughout this months-long project (which is culminating with opening up to the community this week) is making sure that every girl is included.

From dividing up jobs to running to the store, helping with ideas to designing walls, everybody wanted to be a part of the project, so the leaders were especially careful to make sure each girl was able to participate in the way that she wanted. All the hard work paid off, and they’ve produced an incredible Exhibit to show the greater Jewish community next week.

Teamwork pays. Every individual has so much to offer!

Do you work better by yourself or as part of a team? Is it hard for you to switch back and forth?

Listening to the Erev Shabbos Mode on The current song playing is Kodesh by Shloime Gertner from his album Nissim.

Have a beautiful Shabbos!