Full Circle by Rabbi Darren Blackstein


The Ramban, in his introduction to Sefer Shemot, tells us that the book is the story of the first exile and redemption.  We were exiled to and redeemed from Mitzrayim.  How do we know that by the end of Sefer Shemot we had been redeemed?  We know this because the Torah tells us at the end of Parashat Pekudei that the Cloud of Hashem’s Glory filled the Tabernacle.  This event was similar to the presence of Hashem in the tents of the Avot.  Therefore, we understand that by the end of this Sefer, we had returned to the status of the Avot.

Perhaps a literary observation can be made to align with and support the above contention.  Parashat Pekudei begins with the phrase “Eileh Fekudei,” which, according to some translations, means, “These are the reckonings.”  To reckon means to count or to compute.  This formulation is used in another prominent place in the Torah.  In Sefer Bereishit (21:1), the Torah states, “VaHashem Pakad Et Sarah.”  Here, “Pakad” means to remember.  Upon further reflection, a connection between the two episodes might exist.

In Sefer Shemot, as the Tabernacle was made ready for use, Bnei Yisrael reached the climax of the exodus from Mitzrayim.  We had suffered for an extended period, cried to Hashem, and been deemed worthy of redemption.  The redemption itself was a process culminating in the plagues and the splitting of the sea.  The “reckoning” is then made with the details and building of the Tabernacle.  Hashem had calculated that we were deserving of hosting His Presence.  In Sefer Bereishit, a childless Sarah suffered and waited through the episode of Sedom and Amorah and her abduction by Avimelech.  Afterwards, Hashem remembered and calculated that Sarah was worthy of His Presence, whereupon she conceived.

This seems to support an assertion made by the Ramban.  Hashem’s Presence is drawn by our ascension.  Through the progress and incremental growth in our lives, we work diligently for a spiritual connection to the Almighty.  Our experience in Mitzrayim was a crucial ingredient in our achieving a level worthy of a Tabernacle.  All of the details of the building reflect all of the details of our experiences that define our worthiness. Similarly, all of the details of the difficulties and achievements of Sarah’s life could be reflected in her worthiness to experience Hashem’s Presence, be remembered, and allowed to conceive.  Bnei Yisrael, with the Tabernacle, had been deemed worthy of Sarah’s status and redemption.  May it be the will of Hashem that our collective experiences and growth be calculated and weighed so that we too may be deemed worthy of, as the Ramban says, the fourth and final redemption.

The Key to Kedushah by Shimmy Auman

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