Yom Shlishi, 15 Tammuz 5780
Tuesday, 7 July 2020
Parashat Pekudei 2014

Parashat Pekudei
Rabbi Sandra Kviat
28th February 2014

Chazak chazak v’nitchazek
Be strong, be strong, and strengthen yourself

As we end the momentous building of the Tabernacle, as we finish the long lists of gold, silver, and copper, of rolls of valuable cloth, bags of precious stones, small mountains of spices, and reams of meticulous instructions, Bezalel the master craftsman has pekudei, records, written to remember who gave what, and we presume, to balance the budget.

The most noteworthy contribution is the half shekel from each of the adult men, over the age of 20, which is where the name of the upcoming Shabbat, called Shabbat Shekalim, the Shabbat of the Shekel, derives from. The shekel is a tax, or a maintenance contribution for the Tabernacle, and was instituted earlier in the narrative, but the minute the building is over, before the celebration or thanksgiving or blessing can be said, Bezalel makes sure that the act of giving is remembered. While they are still finishing the last pieces, while giving the metals a last polishing, and sweeping the yard, the idea of legacy and communal maintenance, is written into the records.

Fundraising for a new building, or finding the money for a service is attractive; you’ve helped create something new. Fundraising for something that already exists is a lot less exciting or attractive. The Torah understands this, and makes communal maintenance a part of the fabric of the community itself. Without a legacy the tabernacle will fall in to disrepair. With a communal legacy, the tabernacle belongs to everyone, and everyone belong to the tabernacle.

The theme of encouraging financial support for the community is reflected in the theme of the cross-communal project Jewish Legacy;

‘Jewish Legacy is a ground breaking cross-communal initiative, established to promote legacy giving in the community. We are a collaboration of 46 different Jewish charities drawn from across the spectrum, all of whom are committed to raising awareness of the need for charitable Legacies…Jewish Legacy aims to promote Legacy giving in the Jewish community so that all Jewish charities can look forward to a more secure future’[1].

A charitable legacy is·money or property bequeathed to another in their will, something that most charities rely on. But a Legacy is far more than merely a reliable pot of money to secure the running of charity for a time. By naming a charity in our Wills we are making our families and friends aware of what is important to us.Supporting our communities and our chosen charities is a tangible way of strengthening ourselves. Far more than just money, it’s about the will to give, the will to support the institutions that we care about. It’s another way of ensuring the next generation, a personal statement of what is important to us, and of what we hope for those who come after us.

As we finish the Book of Exodus, it is a tradition in some communities to rise and together say;·Chazak chazak -be strong, be strong, one in honour of the person who did the aliyah, and one in honour of the Torah reader, and then we add for ourselves and for our community v’nitchazekand strengthen yourself.·

You can find more information about Jewish Legacy at www.jewishlegacy.org.uk