30.1. The Accounting of the Materials Used in Creating the Tabernacle (38:21-31)

 (21) These are the records of the Tabernacle, the Tabernacle of the Pact, which were drawn up at Moses’ bidding — the work of the Levites under the direction of Ithamar son of Aaron the priest.

(22) Now Bezalel, son of Uri son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, had made all that the Lord had commanded Moses;

(23) at his side was Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, carver and designer, and embroiderer in blue, purple, and crimson yarns and in fine linen.

(24) All the gold that was used for the work, in all the work of the sanctuary — the elevation offering of gold — came to 29 talents and 730 shekels by the sanctuary weight.

(25) The silver of those of the community who were recorded came to 100 talents and 1,775 shekels by the sanctuary weight:

(26) a half-shekel a head, half a shekel by the sanctuary weight, for each one who was entered in the records, from the age of twenty years up, 603,550 men.

(27) The 100 talents of silver were for casting the sockets of the sanctuary and the sockets for the curtain, 100 sockets to the 100 talents, a talent a socket.

(28) And of the 1,775 shekels he made hooks for the posts, overlay for their tops, and bands around them.

(29) The copper from the elevation offering came to 70 talents and 2,400 shekels.

(30) Of it he made the sockets for the entrance of the Tent of Meeting; the copper altar and its copper grating and all the utensils of the altar;

(31) the sockets of the enclosure round about and the sockets of the gate of the enclosure; and all the pegs of the Tabernacle and all the pegs of the enclosure round about.

(21) These are the records of the Tabernacle … which were drawn up at Moses’ bidding — the work of the Levites under the direction of Ithamar: The need to account for the materials used suggests an air of suspicion. Since they had to verify how much gold was actually used, we can infer that there was an actual suspicion of embezzlement.

Such an atmosphere of suspicion is consistent not with Moses’ approach, but with Aaron’s: Man is fundamentally a sinner. Accordingly, “Ithamar son of Aaron the priest” manages the accounting, but the Torah emphasizes that he does so under Moses’ command. Thus, portion Pekudei is Aaron’s portion, but, as we shall see, supplemented with aspects of Moses’ approach.

The Tabernacle of the Pact: More literally, “The Tabernacle of the Testimony.” This refers to the two tablets, the Tablets of Testimony, that were stored inside the ark (25:21).

(24) Came to 29 talents: Each talent is approximately 27 kg (60 lb).

And 730 shekels: Each shekel is about 9 grams (3 oz). One talent is equal to 3000 shekels.

(26) For each one who was entered in the records, from the age of twenty years up: For the purposes of the census, one half-shekel of silver was collected from each adult male (see 30:11‑16).

(27) The 100 talents of silver were for casting the sockets: The sockets are the foundation of the entire structure, ensuring its stability, and they are constructed from the half-shekels, collected as a mandatory contribution from all the Children of Israel equally. But beauty and splendor are created from the voluntary gifts of gold, fabrics, and precious stones.

(29-30) The copper from the elevation offering came to … Of it he made … and all the utensils of the altar: The copper laver is not mentioned in the accounting of the copper used for creating the Tabernacle. As mentioned earlier, the laver was made “from the mirrors of the women who performed tasks at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting” (see 38:8, and our comment there). The copper for the laver was therefore considered an “extraordinary contribution,” and was thus not included in the “general expense report.”

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Bible Dynamics, VOL. 2. EXODUS Copyright © by Orot Yerushalaim / P. Polonsky / English translation of the Torah by the Jewish Publication Society, New JPS Translation, 1985. With sincere gratitude for the permission to use. All Rights Reserved.

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