Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Haftorah Beam - VaYakhel

Last year, this parsha was part of a double-parsha reading, but this year it was read on its own.  The Torah reading concerns the building of the Tabernacle, and the haftorah reading echoes this with instructions for building the Temple in Jerusalem.

This is one of the haftarot where Sephardim and Ashkenazim read slightly different selections: I Kings 7:13-26 vs I Kings 7:40-50.  The Ashkenazi reading concludes the building, while the Sephardi reading describes the dimensions of the major elements.  The reading begins:
13 King Solomon sent for Hiram and brought him down from Tyre. 14 He was the son of a widow of the tribe of Naphtali, and his father had been a Tyrian, a coppersmith. He was endowed with skill, ability, and talent for executing all work in bronze. He came to King Solomon and executed all his work.
The great artist of this mammoth endeavor, brought especially for this project, was an orphan and a foreigner.  Nonetheless, he was singled out for his extraordinary metalworking skill.  Interestingly, his father had been a coppersmith, yet Hiram found his talents in bronze, showing that he had not merely mastered what he had been taught, but was able to extend his skills in new areas.

After the dimensions of the columns and their capitals are given, the columns themselves are named:
21 He set up the columns at the portico of the great hall; he set up one column on the right and named it Jachin, and he set up the other column on the left and named it Boaz. 22 Upon the top of the columns there was a lily design. Thus the work of the columns was completed.
That is strange!  Why would columns require names?   And what is their significance?

This is the entrance to the great hall of the Temple.  This is the place where people come for connection with the divine and with each other.  Where they come for help and for repentance.  They look up at the entrance, at the columns to the right and left. The names of the columns direct the worshippers in orienting their Kavannah (intention) with respect to their petitions: Yachin (יָכִין) "He will prepare" reminds them to make proper preparations, and Boaz (בֹּעַז) "With courage" inspires them to go forth courageously.  It is the balance between these two -- the portal between preparation and courage -- that leads to the Holy Sanctuary.

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