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Setting goals is our road map for life, but the most important part is the follow through–taking every last step necessary to turn aspirations into reality!

By: Rabbi Ari Enkin, Rabbinic Director, United with Israel

This week’s Torah portion is “Pekudei” (Exodus 38:21–40:38) and with it we conclude the book of Exodus. The last four Torah portions of the Book of Exodus seem to be nearly carbon copies of each other.

In the first two of these last four readings, the Torah gives the instructions for the building of the Mishkan (Tabernacle), the sanctuary, and its vessels, and for manufacturing the special clothing worn by the priests and High Priest.

In the last two readings, which includes this week’s Torah portion, the Torah simply repeats everything we have been told until now, with the simple addition of letting us know that each of these instructions were complied with and fulfilled. This is extremely odd. To have four Torah portion that are essentially the same in content? That’s very repetitive! Why not just tell us that everything was completed as required?

There are a number of interpretations that are offered for this question. According to one approach, the Torah wanted to emphasize that everything was done to the very last detail. Every nail was hammered in and every last thread was sewn into place.

Indeed, one difference between the first two (of the last four) portions and the last two portions is that when discussing the construction of the sanctuary the Torah switches from the word “ve’asita” – “and you shall make” to “va’ya’asu” – “and they made.” The command of “to make” became “and they made.” The instructions to build the sanctuary did not merely remain in the manual, rather, they were fulfilled exactly as commanded. They went from planning to execution and ultimately perfection.

The lesson here is that it is easy to plan, and maybe even easier to dream. The hard part is keeping focused until these plans are accomplished in full. We must stay focused and stay committed. Those New Year resolutions must not be allowed to evaporate a mere few days (or months!) after making them.

Keep on setting goals, but make sure they are goals and commitments that are realistic. There is no doubt that realistic goals, combined with a bit of effort, along with some prayer for help from Above, will bring us success and satisfaction in all that we plan!

For more insights by Rabbi Ari Enkin on this week’s Torah reading, click on the links below: