03 Mar Rabbi Hillel Skolnik’s Torah Spark for Parashat Vayakheil – Shabbat Sh’kalim 5776
This Shabbat, after we read from Parashat Vayakheil, we go back and read from the beginning of last week’s Torah portion, Parashat Ki Tissa, where we find the special Torah reading for Shabbat Sh’kalim, the first of four special shabbatot that precede the holiday of Passover. It is certainly unusual for us to read a section of the same Torah portion two weeks in a row, though not unheard of. And while the words, trope and meaning of the verses is the same, this new reading creates a new context for us to read that part of the Torah. Last week we read it simply as the weekly Torah portion. But this week it is part of a special portion we read for Shabbat Sh’kalim. Reading these same words in this new context transports our minds to a state of enhanced need for preparation. Shabbat Sh’kalim leads us into Adar Sheini (Adar 2), to the celebration of Purim followed by Passover. It reminds us all, not only of the holidays that are coming, but that words can entirely change their meaning when put into a different context.
Rabbi Hillel Skolnik