Exodus 38:21-40:38

Exodus chapter 38, verse 21 to chapter 40, verse 38


This portion describes the final steps in the building of Israel’s first House of Worship. It goes into great detail, describing all the materials used in making the Tabernacle. The chief artisans, Bezalel and Oholiab create the special clothes Aaron and his sons will wear, in their roles as priests – Kohanim. These include robes, the ephod, which is like a vest or jacket, They make the breastplate which is worn over the ephod and is made of precious stones and lists the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. They also create the tunics, the breeches (which are like pants) they also created, sashes and turbans which had a gold plate attached to them with the words “Holy to Adonai” inscribed on it.

When the Tabernacle is complete, God tells Moses to erect it on the first day of the first month. Aaron and his sons are anointed as priests. This is one year after the Exodus from Egypt. A cloud covers the Tabernacle, also called the Tent of Meeting, and it’s filled with the spirit of God. When the cloud is lifted from the Tent of Meeting, it’s a signal for the Children of Israel to break camp and renew their journey to the Promised Land. If the cloud doesn’t lift, everyone stays where they are. Throughout their journey, a cloud of God will be present by day, and a fire by night.

Torah Portion in English

21) These are the records of the Tabernacle, the Tabernacle of the Pact, which were drawn up at Moses’ bidding—the work of the Levites under the direction of Ithamar son of Aaron the priest. 22) Now Bezalel, son of Uri son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, had made all that the Lord had commanded Moses; 23) at his side was Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, carver and designer, and embroiderer in blue, purple, and crimson yarns and in fine linen.

24) All the gold that was used for the work, in all the work of the sanctuary—the elevation offering of gold—came to 29 talents and 730 shekels by the sanctuary weight. 25) The silver of those of the community who were recorded came to 100 talents and 1,775 shekels by the sanctuary weight: 26) a half-shekel a head, half a shekel by the sanctuary weight, for each one who was entered in the records, from the age of twenty years up, 603,550 men. 27) The 100 talents of silver were for casting the sockets of the sanctuary and the sockets for the curtain, 100 sockets to the 100 talents, a talent a socket. 28) And of the 1,775 shekels he made hooks for the posts, overlay for their tops, and bands around them.

29) The copper from the elevation offering came to 70 talents and 2,400 shekels. 30) Of it he made the sockets for the entrance of the Tent of Meeting; the copper altar and its copper grating and all the utensils of the altar; 31) the sockets of the enclosure round about and the sockets of the gate of the enclosure; and all the pegs of the Tabernacle and all the pegs of the enclosure round about.

Getting to Know my Parasha

What Does my Parasha Say?

  1. Who was in charge of building the Tabernacle?
  2. What are the different articles of clothing that the Priests wore?
  3. When was the Tabernacle set up for the first time?
  4. What did Aaron and his sons have to do before they entered the Sanctuary
  5. What did Moses do with the Tablets of the Law?
  6. How did the people know when the presence of God was in the Tabernacle?