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Shabbat Commentary

12/13 March :Vayakhel-Pekudei + Shabbat Hachodesh: Shabbat comes in 5:45 pm, ends   6:48 pm

Parashat Vayakhel-Pekudei – Apart and Together 

This week’s double-parashah is entitled ‘Vayakhel-Pekudei’ – a term for gathering (from the root of the word kehillah, community), and a term for counting. Since the beginning of the Covid crises, we have been challenged with questions about how we count ourselves as a congregation when we are unable to congregate. What does it mean to come together in community, when we are not able to physically come together? 

One of our greatest aids through this last year has been the miracle of technology. When my grandparents emigrated from India, their only contact with family was through letters that would take weeks to arrive. Every piece of news they sent away or received was outdated by the time it was communicated. Their physical distance necessitated a gap in communication. We no longer live in that world. Our ability to wave at one another in Zoom rooms and pick up the phone to touch base has been a true blessing.  

And now that more of us are getting vaccinated and starting to walk out into the world again, it is time for new challenges. We are prompted to start counting the lessons we have learnt from a year at home. How can we honour the boundary of sacred space, in the synagogue and at home? How can we honour sacred time, now that we have seen what happens when the boundaries of time are minimised? What will it mean to come together as a community in person once again, and how can we ensure that we never take our ability to do so for granted? 

Wishing you all the best, 

Shabbat shalom,

Rabbi Natasha   

March 10, 2021