Drash Cards for Pekudei (5779)
by Marc Mangel
• Today’s commercial is for the CJM – free tickets in the back.
• I want to bookend our conclusion of the book of Shmot with two quotations – one that we read in Parsha Shmot and one that we read today.
• From Parsha Shmot, Ch 3, v 5: [God] said “Come now nearer. Remove your shoes from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground”.
• We all know this situation – Moses has encountered the burning bush. God tells him to remove the physical barrier – in this case his sandals – to have a more direct connection with the Divine. Incredible. And we all can imagine this scene (again, thank you Cecil B. deMille).
• From today’s parsha (Ch 40, v 31-32): They [Moses, Aaron, and Aaron’s sons] would wash [their hands and feet using the laver, online definition ‘(in biblical use) a large brass bowl for the ritual ablutions of Jewish priests.’] whenever they entered the Tent of the Meeting or drew near to the Altar – as God had commanded Moses.
• More than just take off their shoes when they approach the Divine, Moses and Aaron are to wash their feet in a specially designed bowl. They not only connect to the holy ground, but wash away the profane when approaching it.
• Today our holy ground is this synagogue (or any other). What do these verses mean for us today? How do we wash away the profane when approaching the synagogue once there?
• Since most of us drive here, we can turn off the radio when driving and instead focus thoughts on getting ready for prayer.
• We can turn off our cell phones if we bring them with us.
• We can pause before entering KT and imagine Moses at the burning bush or Moses and Aaron at the laver.
• When here, before, during, and after services we can avoid talking about our work week.
• And here’s a thought experiment: imagine that the next time we clean the carpets at KT we make the following Shabbat “shoes off”. Putting aside the logistics, how that might change our davening? Worth thinking about.
• Shabbat shalom