Parashat P’kudei, and Dwelling on Roots (of words…)

      Parashat  Pekudei is the 23rd in the annual cycle, and the 11th and final parashah in the book of Sh’mot/Exodus.  Normally, this parashah is doubled up  with Parashat VaYak’hel.  This year is a Leap Year on the Hebrew calendar, so these two parshiot are read separately.

      This week, we are often told, the Sh’chinah, usually translated as Divine presence, goes to live in the Mish’kan, aka the Tabernacle, or the Dwelling Place of  the Divine.

But I noticed something:  The parashah starts off at 38:21

  (after the initial v21:

אֵ֣לֶּה פְקוּדֵ֤י הַמִּשְׁכָּן֙ מִשְׁכַּ֣ן הָעֵדֻ֔ת אֲשֶׁ֥ר פֻּקַּ֖ד עַל־פִּ֣י מֹשֶׁ֑ה עֲבֹדַת֙ הַלְוִיִּ֔ם בְּיַד֙ אִֽיתָמָ֔ר בֶּֽן־אַהֲרֹ֖ן הַכֹּהֵֽן׃  -“These are the records of the Mishkan, The Mish’kan of Witness which were recorded from the mouth of Moshe, the work of the Leviim, at the hand of Itamar ben Aaron the Priest.” 

(my translation, using “p-k-d” as “records” via JPS translation, as I do not recall that shoresh/root -Shira) )

  with the words

    “… הַמִּשְׁכָּן֙ מִשְׁכַּ֣ן הָעֵדֻ֔ת  ”  

The Mish’kan, The mishkan of Witness…

   and that root (shoresh) for Mishkan is the same as שְׁכָּֽן

  Oops: unfortunately, this week’s parashah uses the word C’VoD, not the word used in Solomon’s temple, for presence:  

“כְב֣וֹד יְהֹוָ֔ה מָלֵ֖א אֶת־הַמִּשְׁכָּֽן׃…”

  •   -“…glory/”presence,” in this case, but normally translated glory/honor of Y/HVH filled the Mish’kan.”

  But what I was thinking of was the root of the word               מִּשְׁכָּֽן

   and of the word                                                                                  שכינה

     Same root,  שכנ from “to dwell”.   I am surprised that this is not, however the word used in Solomon’s temple, where we are often told that the  שכינה (Sh’chinah) Divine Presence filled the temple after his dedicatory prayer.

   Linguistic aside:  I love that word S(h) K(h) N / שְׁכָּֽן

because it is, according to Strong’s concordance, related to the Semitic root S-K-N, and the Arabic SaKiN, which you can still hear in the Turkish phrase Sâkin ol (calm down).  It’s a beautiful borrowed word that stretches out that first syllable, and is given away by the “ol” after sâkin: frequently, words with “ol” or “et/mek” after them are borrowed into the Ottoman (and thus into Modern Turkish) from either Persian or Arabic.  This relation to relaxing and calm with a dwelling place makes perfect sense, as we should all be able to live in a relaxing dwelling place.

      Oops

      Pity, that, because I was all set to claim the Divine Presence in both places, the Mish’kan/Tabernacle, and King Solomon’s temple, as ways of dwelling among us human beings, thus relating back to having a place in which to dwell, which each of us human beings also needs.  But, alas, the word play does not work, because the word that we keep using in English for Dwelling or Presence of the Divine, as Shechinah, is not actually the word that is used in the T’NaCh, unfortunately.  It says, at King Solomon’s dedication of the (1st) Temple, that

וַיְהִ֕י בְּצֵ֥את הַכֹּהֲנִ֖ים מִן־הַקֹּ֑דֶשׁ וְהֶעָנָ֥ן מָלֵ֖א אֶת־בֵּ֥ית יְהֹוָֽה׃

&

   v. 11: “וְלֹא־יָכְל֧וּ הַכֹּהֲנִ֛ים לַֽעֲמֹ֥ד לְשָׁרֵ֖ת מִפְּנֵ֣י הֶעָנָ֑ן כִּֽי־מָלֵ֥א כְבוֹד־יְהֹוָ֖ה אֶת־בֵּ֥ית יְהֹוָֽה׃ {פ}

  •  -“And when the Cohanim left the Holy/Sanctuary, the cloud filled the House of Y/HVH.”
  • &
  • v. 11:  -“And the Cohanim couldn’t stand to serve before the Cloud because the Glory of Y/HVH had filled the House of Y/HVH.”

   There’s that word again:  “כְבוֹד”  …  “Glory/Honor”  -sigh.  This is very dissapointing, because I really wanted Wikipedia to be wrong, when it said that the world Shechinah does not actually appear in the T’NaCH (Jewish Bible: Torah, N’viim/Prophets, Chetuvim/writings).  Alas, I have searched, and lo, the words used are not related at all to ShChN, dwelling, but, to honor, and thick clouds.

  Ok, this must be a metaphor for “the world we live in.

…  So let’s start trying…”

to Do Better.

  • Please.

We can  Do Better.

-Shira   

 

    Parashat VaYaK’HeL was last week…

Action Prompts:

    Share your thoughts on how to build buy-in create a more equal, or at least less inequitable, society, please.   Writing, by the way, is my personal contribution to Project Do Better

What would yours be, if you had time?

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Shira Destinie A. Jones, MPhil, MAT, BsCs

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12 thoughts on “Parashat P’kudei, and Dwelling on Roots (of words…)

    1. Glad to have you here!

      Please feel free to ask or comment on anything that I may need to clarify, as I know that I often fail to provide enough information, or “connect the dots,” as a friend once told me, and I also get lost in my own train of thought, so if something doesn’t make sense, please let me know!

      🙂

      Shira

      Liked by 4 people

  1. I read this post at least five times and consulted the JPS translation, Everett Fox’s translation, and Robert Alter’s translation.

    Fox refers to “the Dwelling of Testimony.” Alter refers to “the Tabernacle of the Covenant.”

    I had also read that the Shekinah was in both the Tabernacle and the First Temple. Now I know better.

    Thank you for enlightening me.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Dwelling on R. Yitzchah Luria and the Kabbalists of Tzfat: Yedid Nefesh, though I don’t think the word Shechinah is in the song, always reminds me of that concept. The love for that calming presence, the longing for the company of the beloved.

        Liked by 2 people

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