Parshas Pekudei: Every Letter Counts

Parshat Pekudei is well known as one of the most descriptive Parshiot in the Torah, especially with regards to the building of the Mishkan (Tabernacle). When delving into the Parsha itself, the first Possuk (verse) of the Torah appears to have a blatant redundancy where it says “אלה פקודי המשכן, משכן העדת” (translation: These are the accounts of the Mishkan, [the] Mishkan of Testimony, Shemot 38:21). Rashi immediately inquires about the repetition of the word Mishkan, and explains how the word “Mishkan” is repeated twice as a hint to the Beit Hamikdash, which was taken as a pledge (“mashkon”) in the two destructions for the sins of the Jewish people. However, this answer by Rashi still leaves us to the question of how does the word “Mishkan” hint at the Beit Hamikdash? One answer that the רבינו בחיי gives to this question involves digging deeper into the numerical value of the word “mishkan” and its significance. The first Beit Hamikdash stood for a total of 410 years, and the second Beit Hamikdash lasted 420 years. The word “משכן” has the numerical value of 410, which simply correlates to the 410 years that the first Beit Hamikdash stood for. Similarly, the word “המשכן” has the numerical value of 415. A common trick that the laws of Gematria allows is that the amount of letters used in a word can count as the total sum of the numerical value of a word. So if we add five to the numerical value for the five letters of the word, “המשכן,” we have 420 which also correlates to the number of years that the Second Beit Hamikdash stood for. This deeper meaning of the phrase “אלה פקודי המשכן משכן העדת,” according to Rashi, shows the significance of each and every word in the Torah. The רבינו בחיי goes above and beyond and shows that not only does each word serve for a profound purpose, but each and every letter in a word from the Torah also provides a deeper and more insightful meaning.

Aaron Imanoel (’20) is a staff writer for the Valley Torah Scroll.

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