Last week we read Vayakhel – whose title holds the framework for who we are as Jews, choosing to assemble as Jews – we build a kehal, a kehillah, a community.

We don’t just assemble, we take care of each other; we provide comfort and we share joys. Eilu devarim, one of our opening prayers during Shacharit, morning prayers, lists a number of ways we care for each other, in ways large and small, everyday and special occasions. We are the keepers of our traditions, and even as we assemble and sing and recite Kaddish, we look around the room, and feel gratitude that we are not alone.

Pekudei, our parashah this week is a continuation of previous parshiot, and also a conclusion of the Book of Shemot. Hazak, Hazak, v’nit’hazake, we recite when completing one of our Books. Be strong, be strong, may we all be strengthened. The final paragraph of Pekudei outlines how God’s presence filled the Mishkan, and how the journeys of the people of Israel were predicated on that Presence. When the cloud rested over the Mishkan, they would stay in place, when it lifted, they would continue to travel.

How do we feel that Presence within the Mishkan of our hearts today? How do we feel able to move forward – or rest in place? Do we feel that Presence guiding us as we make the smallest and largest of contributions to each other, to our kehillah?

With love,Rabbi Lynn