The Most Boring Torah Portion of the Year?

Vayakhel records in painstaking detail the making of the tabernacle. It also makes clear one crucial truth: the central task of Jewish leadership is not atonement but teaching.

From Bezalel by James Tissot. Wikimedia.

From Bezalel by James Tissot. Wikimedia.

Atar Hadari
Observation
March 3 2016
About the author

Atar Hadari’s Songs from Bialik: Selected Poems of H. N. Bialik (Syracuse University Press) was a finalist for the American Literary Translators’ Association Award. His Lives of the Dead: Poems of Hanoch Levin earned a PEN Translates award and was released in 2019 by Arc Publications. He was ordained by Rabbi Daniel Landes and is completing a PhD on William Tyndale’s translation of Deuteronomy.


This week’s Torah reading of Vayakhel (Exodus 35:1 – 38:20) competes for the title of the most boring parashah of the year. Not only does it record, in painstaking detail, the making of the tabernacle in the desert, its accoutrements, and the priestly vestments, it does so for the second time. Almost all of the information can be found in the prior readings of T’rumah and T’tsaveh. And yet, when you think about it, the parashah fits beautifully into the narrative arc of the whole second half of Exodus.

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

More about: Aaron, Hebrew Bible, Moses, Religion & Holidays, The Monthly Portion, Torah