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March 16, 2024: Parashah Torah Portion Pekudei

This week’s Parashah Torah Portion Pekudei is taken from Exodus 38:21-40:38. Join Dr. Jeffery Myers, as he describes a picture of a bad life lived in pursuit of the wrong values! The warning is clear: If we live for lifeless things…we become lifeless! Biblical Judaism is a journey, not a destination!  Even at a place of rest, it is still a journey -we're just passing through!

Follow along in the AUDIO PODCAST, by clicking on the play button below, and reading along with the notes, as you listen to today's Torah Portion:

Parashah Torah Portion Pekudei פקודי

Lion of Judah Speaks: Parashah Torah Portion Pekudei - Exodus 38:21-40:38:

Sitting too much is the new health risk today…it is bad for you to be so stationary.  On my phone it will tell me it is time to get up…Stand…Walk…Stop Sitting!  When we spend too much time at a desk or in front of a screen – you are at risk of significant danger to your health.  World Health Organization has identified lack of physical activity as the 4th greatest health hazard today, ahead of obesity.  Basically…we are sitting ourselves to death!


As a child we rode bikes, played football, walked the neighborhood, played hide-and-go-seek, climbed trees, and rock piles until supper was ready and then after supper until it got dark.  Today children watch TV, play video games and sit in their rooms.  The reason why we are sitting ourselves to death is because we were not made to sit still.  Our bodies were made for movement, standing, walking, and running!  If we fail to give the body regular exercise, it can easily malfunction and put us at risk of serious illness. The question is:  Does the same apply to the soul, spirit, and mind?  


Psalms 1:1-3 tells us, “Happy is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, or stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of the scornful.”  This is a picture of the bad life lived in pursuit of the wrong values!  Take note how the bad man begins by walking, then stands, and finally sits.  A bad life immobilizes!  That is the point of Psalm 115:48…If you live for lifeless things…you become lifeless!


As followers of Elohim, we do not sit because a Hebrew life began with two momentous journeys:  Abraham from Mesopotamia and Moshe and Israelites from Egypt.   Genesis 17:1 says, “When Abram was ninety-nine years old, Adonai appeared to him and said, “I am Yah Almighty; walk before Me faithfully and be blameless.”  At age ninety-nine, having just been circumcised, he saw three strangers passing by and “ran to meet them” (Gen. 17:24; 18:1-3).


Genesis 37:1 says, “Ya’akov dwelled (Vayeshev; the verb that also means “to sit”) in the land where his father had stayed.  Ya’akov sought to live in tranquility, but immediately there broke in on him the troubles of Joseph.  The righteous do not sit still!  They do not have a quiet life.


 This is the point made at the end of this Parashah and the Book of Exodus as a whole.  The Tabernacle had been made and assembled.  The closing verses tell us about the relationship between it and the “cloud of glory” that filled the Tent of Meeting.  The Tabernacle was made to be portable.  It could be dismantled and its parts carried as the Israelites traveled onto the next stage of their journey (II Cor. 4:16-5:1-10).  When the time came for them to move on, the cloud moved from the Tent of Meeting to a position outside the camp, signaling the direction the Israelites were to take.


 Look at how the Torah describes it in Exodus 40:36-38, “In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out- until the day it lifted.  So, the cloud of Adonai was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the Israelites during all their travels.”


There is a significant difference between the two occurrences of the phrase “in all their journeys.”  In the first the words are meant literally; that when the cloud lifted, they knew they were about to begin a new stage of their journey.  However, the 2nd cannot be meant literally, “The cloud was not “over the Tabernacle” in all their journeys – to the contrary, it was there only when they stopped journeying and instead pitched camp.  During the journeys, the cloud went on ahead!  The point is linguistic, the message remarkable:  To be a Hebrew is to travel!  Biblical Judaism is a journey, not a destination!  Even at a place of rest, an encampment, it is still a journey.


The Patriarchs lived not in houses but in tents…interesting is that Lot and Laben lived in houses…Humm!   In fact, the first time we are told that a Patriarch lived in a house proves the point; Genesis 33:17 says, “Ya’akov went to Sukkoth, where he built a place for himself and made shelters for his livestock. That is why the place is called Sukkoth.”


The first member of the covenantal family to build a house, yet he does not call the place “House” but he calls it “cattle-sheds” (Sukkoth).  It is like Ya’akov knew consciously or unconsciously that to live the life of the covenant means to be ready to move on, to travel, to journey, to GROW!  Well rabbi, this only applied to the time before the Promised Land not when we possess it!  Really…Lev. 25:23 says, “The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you reside in My land as foreigners and strangers.”


In this world of time, change, growth, and decay only Adonai and His Word are permanent!  Psalm 119:9 is a powerful verse that says, “How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your Word.”  To be a follower, disciple, or Hebrew is to stay light on your feet, ready to begin the next stage of the journey literally or metaphorically.  People used to say a man’s home is his castle but our home is a tent, tabernacle, or sukkah! II Cor. 5:1 says, “For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from Elohim, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.”


The Tabernacle fulfills Elohim’s purpose in bringing Israel forth from Egypt and the Israelites will journey continually with a sense of fulfillment.  This is echoed in Matthew 28:20 where the Messiah says, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”


The story is not about me but about Elohim and His Glory!  Like our bodies, our souls were not made for sitting still! 


Hebrews 12:1-2 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Yeshua, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.  For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the Throne of Yah.”


We were made for moving, walking, traveling, learning, searching, striving, growing, and knowing that it is not for us to complete the work but neither may we stand aside from it!  In Biblical Judaism, as the Book of Exodus reminds us in it closing words, EVEN AN ENCAMPMENT IS CALLED A JOURNEY!


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We must not sit but must keep moving so we can enjoy the journey of our lives!  May this Sabbath cause you to rise and begin to walk out the destiny Elohim has for each of us.  Run to the House and magnify Adonai…He is worthy!  Look up and follow the Glory Cloud as you begin another journey with Him.  See you at the altar!


Shalom Aleichem



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