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An Accountant’s Dream Parsha (Pekude 03/16/24)

An Accountant’s Dream Parsha

This week, we celebrated an “aufruf” in the synagogue. Before a wedding, we invite the bride and groom to receive an aliyah to set their marriage’s spiritual and religious course. We shower them with sweetness (by throwing candy) and give them a special blessing. Our beloved, Shira K., is set to marry Elias R. the day after Purim. The bride’s mom, Martha K., requested to give this week’s sermon, and we all received something exceptional. I’d like to share her message with you. It’s unique, and since I’m not an accountant, you won’t hear a D’var Torah like this from me! Furthermore, the marital advice at the end is worth its weight in gold.

The Torah portion for today, Pekudei, is one of records, and is replete with details. It is the fifth week in a row that the Torah Parsha discusses the minutiae and exact directives for building the Tabernacle. This parsha is mainly celebrated by my husband Paul, the CFO, Judy, our Rebbittzin (an auditor), and me, the volunteer treasurer of two organizations. We relish records, assessments, and numbers that receive so much attention. We jitter with excitement, and I dare say, at this parsha because it is entitled “Amounts of,” in other words, Accounting.

The details, the artistry, and the finishings of the Tabernacle are all included. The names and history of the artisans are there. Doesn’t that make you excited and filled with anticipation? The vestments to be worn by the priestly class are specified, including the design and artistry of each piece and the weight of gold, silver, and copper. And the exact precious gems to be incorporated in the breastplate corresponding to each of Jacob’s sons are articulated. Doesn’t all that detail make your heart go pitter-pat?

Likewise, the haftorah is one of building: the construction of the Temple, our holiest, most sacred place. But again, it is the specifics—the artistry and the finishings—that dwell in this haftorah. Only when the job is done can G-d’s presence, whatever that means to you, enter.

Most of the articles and commentaries I read to prepare these words move beyond the details because the writers, quite frankly, find the minutiae dull. They discuss bringing G-d into our lives, the nature and purpose of the Tabernacle, and turn their view inward to the accounting we must do of our own lives. Or they move beyond this to a discussion of Purim or address the act of giving not more and not less than expected.

Besides making bean counters happy, I find significant comfort in the specificity given in this and the preceding parsha. I like the detailed plan and the specific quest and find essential life lessons in these particulars. Accountability for ourselves and responsibility for others are clear lessons from my reading of this parsha. One must pay their dues, or the ultimate task cannot be completed. Details are essential, or the construction of your world cannot turn out as intended or designed. Every individual counts. Doing things with artistry and style is vital.

I also find relevant lessons, especially for our bride and groom. The wedding is the easy part. You have followed the same path as others have before you: found the venue, picked the food, the d.j., the photographic team, and invited the guests. Your parents have paid most of the bills. But marriage itself is in the details with no preplanned blueprint, as much as you might want one. Remembering big things like birthdays and anniversaries are important, but what is more important is remembering to touch, hug, and kiss whenever. Remember what kind of cookie your mate prefers, which tea, and even how to do the laundry if one of you expresses a preference. It is important to remember that if you take the last of something, replace it. Remembering to adjust the car seat or the temperature setting is an act of love. Remember how each of you likes to be treated when sick, joyous, or neither. An event’s details define your life, memories, and shared experiences. Being careful with them will help you grow and become one.

Only when the Tabernacle is complete, and the Temple has all its finishings, does the presence of G-d enter. It is a long process, and the details are essential. We hope and pray that your marriage is long and fulfilling in every way and that you enjoy all the strength and goodness that can come to you.

Amen! For Shira and Elias, and all of us as well. Thank you, Martha, for making the minutiae of our parsha shine with relevance.

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