Vayakhel-Pikudei - Experiencing the Shabbat Moment

A visualization by Joyce Reinitz

In the final two chapters of the Book of Exodus we witness the actual building and dedication of the Mishkan. The imagery is rich, the colors are vibrant and the details are mesmerizing. This is the description of the place where God's Presence will dwell among the people.

Vayakheyl begins with Moses reiterating the commandment of Shabbat:
"On six days work may be done, but the seventh day shall be holy for you, a day of complete rest."

From this we learn that the holiness of Shabbat takes precedence over the building of the Mishkan. Torah is teaching us that the sanctification of time is more valuable the the sanctification of space. This is an odd message o grasp since our material world is so all encompassing. But if we think about it, we can understand just how invaluable, how powerful a true Shabbat is. Our autonomy, our sense of freedom is inherent in the observance of Shabbat because only when we can actually choose to "stop' are we clearly not enslaved by anything or anyone. The 'stopping,' the 'ceasing' of the most sacred of tasks, i.e. the building of the Mishkan, leads to the transcendence of the earthly and experiencing of the Divine. The same is true when we disengage form mundane tasks and enter 'sacred time.' The choice is ours.

The connection betwe]en Shabbat and the Mishkan is no accident. They form the intersection of 'sacred time' and 'sacred space,' the place where we learn to be in the presence of the Divine, suspended form the routine and the ordinary. An important quality of the Mishkan is its portability. God's Presence is not fixed in any one geographical location but accompanies the Israelites throughout their journey in the Sinai. And so it is with us.

I invite you to enter your own portable sanctuary and experience the transforming power of a "Shabbat Moment."


-Close your eyes softly.
-Take a few easy breaths. Emphasize your exhale.
-Now breath regularly and easily.
-See all the things that you do. Work, play, commuting, cooking, cleaning, communicating, etc.
-See yourself doing all that you do.
-Now double the tempo, increase the load.

-Now, stop, COMPLETELY STOP!!!!!!!!
-Know what it means to cease.

-Breath out once.
-Enter your inner sanctuary.
-Move through the linen curtains, twisted with turquoise, purple and scarlet wool, see the cherubs woven in the fabric.
-Light the golden menorah, see the flames as they rise up from the golden cups, each one shaped like a perfect almond-blossom, each with calyx and petals.
-Admire its beauty.

-Feel the movement of the stillness....................hear the sound of nothingness.
-Feel the presence of the Divine.
-If you wish, offer a silent prayer or words of gratitude.

-Experience the wondrous expansion of a a moment in sacred space.
-Live and know the joy of being.

-When you are ready..............SLOWLY.....return through the curtains.........renewed and refreshed.

-Breathe out and open your eyes.