Pekudei, Exodus 38:21-40:38, Parashat Hashavua for Shabbat March 16, 2024

Don’t hold a grudge. We know this to be true. Psychologists, philosophers, religious leaders, and 12-Step literature remind us of this truth all the time. Yet, we still nurture resentments. Perhaps that is why we are told not to. It feels so good to hold onto a grudge, but it corrodes our souls. Holding onto a grudge is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies. This Shabbat we end the Book of Exodus with the Torah portion, Pikudei. Over the course of this story the Jews have gone from being a family to becoming a people, from slavery to freedom, and they have stood face-to-face with God at Sinai. They have committed great transgressions and have been forgiven. The book ends with the Mishkan, the portable Tabernacle, being assembled for the first time. The Tabernacle is the symbol of God’s presence among the people. But none of this would be possible without the remarkable craftsman Bezalel Ben Uri Ben Hur, who fashioned the Tabernacle. He is remarkable, not because he is skilled in the arts, but rather, because he is skilled in forgiveness. Most Hebrew names include only the parents’ names, so he should be known as Bezalel ben Uri. So why is his grandfather’s name, Hur, included in Bezalel’s name? Our sages taught that Hur was murdered by some of his fellow Israelites when he tried to stop them from building the Golden Calf. They also taught that the Tabernacle was a tikkun, an atonement for the sin of the Golden Calf. By including Bezalel’s grandfather’s name they remind us that he was willing to build the Tabernacle and redeem the Jewish people, in spite of the fact his grandfather had been murdered. The road to redemption begins with forgiveness. Think of that next time you want to nurse a grudge.