"These are the Pekudei of the donations for the Mishkan." (Ex. 28:21)

Pekudei means a numbering and an accounting. Here the Torah counts the amount of gold, silver and copper, which the Children of Israel donated to the Mishkan.

...a blessing does not reside on something that is counted or numbered.

Our Sages say that a blessing does not reside on something that is counted or numbered. If so, why should the Torah make an accounting of the donations to the Mishkan?

First let us understand what does a blessing [in Hebrew, bracha] signify? A blessing always leads to an increase and an addition. We find in the Act of Creation that a blessing was uttered three times:

  1. Of the creation of fish it is written, "G‑d blessed…and said, ‘Be fruitful and multiply.’"
  2. Of the creation of man male and female it is written, "Be fruitful and multiply, and G‑d blessed them."
  3. Of Shabbat it is written, "And G‑d blessed the seventh day."

The significance of G‑d's blessing to man is that not only is man blessed, but blessings also emanate from him to others. This is the meaning of "Be fruitful and multiply." One [complete] person, comprised of male and female soul-mates, produces many people. So too with fish. Likewise with regard to Shabbat, for it is stated clearly in the Zohar that not only is the day of Shabbat blessed, but all six days of the week are blessed from Shabbat.

This concept of blessing is alluded to in the verse: "A generous person will be blessed" (Proverbs 22:9). When a person generously and happily gives a gift or loan to another person, the recipient will succeed in their business from the money received. However, if they would take the same amount of money from a stingy person, all the business dealings that they will do with it will not succeed, as it is written, "Do not eat of the bread of a stingy person." (Ibid. 23:6)

Malchut is also called the "palace of blessing"

The tenth Sefira, usually called malchut, is also called "Cheshbon" ("an accounting"), as is written in the Zohar on Parashat Pinchus. This is because Malchut receives the lights from the first nine sefirot, and emanates them to the lower worlds. Therefore, Malchut is also called the "palace of blessing", since Malchut includes all of the emanation, and from Malchut all are blessed. Furthermore, since Malchut unites all of the sefirot, Malchut is also called the "Crown of Malchut", just as a virtuous king cares not only for himself, but rather cares to emanate to his people and his kingdom.

Now we can understand that a blessing does not dwell on a counted or numbered thing when a person counts and numbers in order to know how much they possess of their own, for the purpose of increasing their own physical desires and aspirations. However, if all of the abundance (of money) is for the purpose of giving to others, then on the contrary, a blessing will dwell on the counted thing, for the more that is given away, the more is increased.

This idea is emphasized even more this year. In the majority of years, Vayakhel and Pekudei are combined and read on the same Shabbat. This year we read Pekudei separately, the week after Vayakhel.

Moses assembled all of the people together in order to unite them with one desire.

Vayakhel means "assembled" and represents inclusiveness and unity, as Moses assembled all of the people together in order to unite them with one desire. Pekudei, in contrast, is about the particular details, the amounts of gold, silver and copper that they donated.

Each type of metal had a different purpose. The Ark was made from gold, from which emerged the Torah and teaching. The Table and the Menorah were also made of gold; physical light and food emanated from them. The Altar was made from the copper to atone for a person who sinned.

When the people are all in a unified state and the giving for the "whole", then it is possible to count the physical "parts" and to enumerate them, The "Evil Eye" then has no control over them, since they came from a united community, for the sake of emanating to others. This would not be the case if the counting and numbering were done for one’s own self; then the blessing would not dwell there.

May it be the Will of G‑d that we merit to have unity, and then the spiritual pipelines of emanation will emanate all goodness to the Nation of Israel, and we will merit our complete deliverance, speedily, Amen.

Delivered orally; translated by David Devor from his notes and extensively edited by KabbalaOnline.org staff.

Copyright 2003 by KabbalaOnline.org, a project of Ascent of Safed (//ascentofsafed.com). All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this work or portions thereof, in any form, unless with permission, in writing, from Kabbala Online.