Taking steps, walking

Don’t just “talk the talk,” but follow through and “walk the walk” – one step at a time.

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

This week we read a double Torah portion, “Vayakhel” and “Pekudei” (Exodus 35:1–40:38), which are the two final Torah portions of the Book of Exodus.

Not only do Vayakhel and Pekudei appear to be nearly identical accounts about the construction of the Tabernacle – its vessels, its furnishings and the clothing of the Priests – but the previous two Torah portions, Teruma and Tetzaveh, are quite similar as well. This makes for a total of four consecutive Torah portions all essentially about the same subject!

Why all the repetition?

It is explained that the Torah is emphasizing that the Tabernacle was not just an idea for discussion, but a serious project that began with plans, blueprints and work order. It went from planning to production and from intention to execution.

Although these four Torah portions are indeed similar, there is one subtle difference in the narrative. In the first two (Teruma and Tetzaveh), which deal with the planning of the Tabernacle, the primary verb used is Ve’asita, which means “You shall make,” while in the two Torah portions of this week’s reading (Vayakhel and Pekudei), the primary verb is Vaya’asu, which means “They made.” We see a transformation from planning to doing. It wasn’t just talk – it was action.

It’s easy to talk, it’s easy to dream, it’s easy to plan and it’s easy to make those New Year’s resolutions, but will we follow through with our ideas? More often than not, these resolutions are quickly dismissed, if implemented at all.

The Torah wants us to bear in mind that all the Ve’asita talk is nice, but if not followed by Vaya’asu, it has little value. We must learn not to be mere “talkers,” but also “do-ers.” The best way to do so is with challenging but realistic goals, achieved one step at a time.

We all have great “Tabernacles” in our lives that we want to build, so let us go ahead and build – one rung at a time.

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