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Jewish Journal

A Portion of Parshat Vayakel-Pekuday

by Abby Gilad

March 7, 2002 | 7:00 pm

Bezalel helps the Israelites build the mishkan (tabernacle). They are returning a favor that God did for them many years earlier. God built the world so that humans would have a place to live. Now the Israelites are building a mishkan so that God will have a place to "live" on earth. The word mishkan comes from the Hebrew word shachen (neighbor). God and the Israelites are like good neighbors. Have you ever moved to a new neighborhood?

I hope that your new neighbors came to greet you, maybe bringing an apple pie, cookies or a toy. Now it is your turn -- if a new neighbor moves in, or if a new kid comes to your school, you can also be a good neighbor. Greet them and make them welcome in your home. And one more thing: Bezalel (whose name means "in the shadow of God") was chosen as master designer because he knew his stuff. So when you give your new neighbor a present, think first of what you are really good at: Baking? Building bird houses? Use your talents to make your present.

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