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Exodus Chapter 31
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The Architects
31:1 God spoke to Moses, saying:
31:2 I have selected Betzalel son of Uri son of Chur, of the tribe of Judah, by name.
31:3 I have filled him with a divine spirit, with wisdom, understanding and knowledge, and with [the talent for] all types of craftsmanship.
31:4 He will be able to devise plans as well as work in gold, silver and copper,
31:5 cut stones to be set, carve wood, and do other work.
31:6 I have also given him Oholiav son of Achisamakh of the tribe of Dan [as an assistant]. [Besides this], I have placed wisdom in the heart of every naturally talented person.

They will thus make all that I have ordered,

31:7 the Communion Tent, the Ark for the Testimony, the ark cover to go on it, all the utensils for the tent,
31:8 the table and its utensils, the pure [gold] menorah and all its utensils, the incense altar,
31:9 the sacrificial altar and all its utensils, the washstand and its base,
31:10 the packing cloths, the sacred vestments for Aaron the priest, the vestments that his sons wear to serve,
31:11 the anointing oil, and the incense for the sanctuary. They will thus do all that I command.

The Sabbath
31:12 God told Moses
31:13 to speak to the Israelites and say to them:

You must still keep My sabbaths. It is a sign between Me and you for all generations, to make you realize that I, God, am making you holy.

31:14 [Therefore] keep the Sabbath as something sacred to you. Anyone doing work [on the Sabbath] shall be cut off spiritually from his people, and therefore, anyone violating it shall be put to death.
31:15 Do your work during the six week days, but keep Saturday as a Sabbath of sabbaths, holy to God. Whoever does any work on Saturday shall be put to death.
31:16 The Israelites shall thus keep the Sabbath, making it a day of rest for all generations, as an eternal covenant.
31:17 It is a sign between Me and the Israelites that during the six weekdays God made heaven and earth, but on Saturday, He ceased working and withdrew to the spiritual.

The Golden Calf
31:18 When [God] finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, He gave him two tablets of the Testimony. They were stone tablets, written with God's finger.



Commentary:

God spoke...
  See Exodus 35:30-36:1.

Betzalel...
  son of Chur. See note on Exodus 17:10. Betzalel was thus Miriam's grandson.

devise plans
  (Targum Yonathan; Lekach Tov). Or, 'weave designs' (Rashi).

naturally talented
  Literally, 'wise of heart'. See Exodus 28:3.

packing cloths
  (Rashi; Ibn Ezra). Or, 'unique vestments' (Ramban).

still
  Even while building the Tabernacle (Mekhilta; Rashi).

Saturday
  Literally, 'the seventh day.' See note on Exodus 16:5.

withdrew to the spiritual
  (cf. Bahir 57; Ramban on Genesis 2:7). Nafash in Hebrew. Or, 'withdrew to Himself' (Hirsch); or, 'finished accomplishing what He intended' (Moreh Nevukhim 1:67); or, 'rested' (Targum; Rashi; Radak, Sherashim).

tablets
  According to tradition the tablets were square, 6 x 6 x 3 handbreadths (18' x 18' x 9') Bava Bathra 14a). They were made of sapphire (Lekach Tov; see note on Exodus 24:10).

finger
  'Instrument' (Moreh Nevukhim 1:66). See Exodus 8:15 (cf. Midrash HaGadol).





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