The theme of the book of Exodus essentially turns on two great events.1. The deliverance of the Israelites from their bondage in Egypt.2. The subsequent revelation at Sinai (mattan Torahgiving of the Torah)

    Moses actually ascended Mt. Sinai no less than eight times. 

    Just after G-d finished explaining the final details of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) and named Betzalel as its chief architect, He turned His attention back to the Ten Commandments.  And before He actually handed the physical tablets to Moses, however, the LORD elaborated on the importance of observing the Shabbat day.

    Moses assembled the people of Israel together, to teach them the Torah that he received upon Mount Sinai.  Moses called on them to rebuild and restructure the fragmented life, the disorder, which was disrupted from sin; and began to reconstruct the spiritual life in order that the children of Israel might once again become in harmony with their Master.

    The first item on the list was the importance of observing Shabbat.  This is to be a day of “complete rest” with the stricture that whoever does any work (melakhah) on it shall be put to death.

    Since Moses gave the prohibition that no fire was to be kindled on the Shabbat, the last Mitzvah (commandment) traditionally performed before the ordained Day of Rest begins is the kindling of the Shabbat candles.

    The woman of the house first lights the candles 18 minutes before sundown when the Shabbat begins, and they say the blessing over the flames, officially commencing the holiness of the day of rest.

    “Therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Shabbat day.” (Deuteronomy 5:15)

    In other words, the Shabbat is a weekly reminder that the LORD is both our Creator and our Redeemer.

    In this Torah Portion, there are 3 concepts very important to understand:1. Shabbat – this represents the time2. Tabernacle – this represents the place3. Israelites – this represents the man

    These 3 concepts have a force that connects them in perfect harmony.  Without one, you would not have the other two, at least not in the same way. These three have influence on each other, and they are linked in nature.

    The construction of the tabernacle is similar to the creation of the universe.  Both brought happiness, because the essences of the sanctity of G-d was there in the tabernacle and the light of G-od illuminated the whole world.  Both were intended to be places where G-d could meet with His people and where people could know their Creator.

    The commandment of Shabbat is very important – to respect the Shabbat.  Even the building of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) had to wait for Shabbat because the construction of the Mishkan(Tabernacle) is a created work that shows mastery over creation, rather than respecting the creation work which G-d finished.  To put this in perspective, the Shabbat is a day to rest and watch the trees bloom, not a day to cut them down and form new structures of your own.

    Creating something new on Shabbat is prohibited because you are changing creation.

–This type of work is not permitted on Shabbat

–It is important to engage only in those types of activities that enhance the joy, rest, and holiness of the day.

    The penalty for desecrating the Shabbat was severe, normally death itself.

“For whoever does any work on it shall be cut off from among his people.”

    This cutting off means being severed from his or her roots.  And therefore the profane person has effectively become dead to the things of the spirit (aka, spiritually dead).

    The commandment to guard the Shabbat is placed at this point in the narrative in light of that was required to create the Tabernacle.  Even though its construction was sanctified work, the workman could not overlook the sacred institution of the Shabbat.  Since that would confuse the “means” with the “end”of the Sanctuary itself.  To create the good and holy, you must still do the work in a good and holy way.

    The word Shavat (rest) is a technical term, understood to be the opposite of melakhah (work).  

    So what is work?  There are 39 creative activities that were required for the creation, set up, and maintenance of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) and its furnishings.  These 39 activities are called Avot Melakhah, the “father of work,” and are regarded as foundational categories for understanding other types of work which are similar and derived from them.

The 39 Prohibited Activities(from Mishnah Tractate Shabbat 7:2)
-Sowing-Plowing-Reaping-Binding Sheaves-Threshing-Winnowing-Selecting-Grinding-Sifting-Kneading-Baking-Shearing wool-Washing wool-Beating wool-Dyeing wool-Spinning-Warping (part of the set-up for weaving)-Making 2 loops-Weaving 2 threads-Separating 2 threads-Tying-Untying-Sewing stitches-Tearing-Trapping-Slaughtering-Flaying-Tanning-Scraping hide-Marking hides-Cutting hide to shape -Writing two or more letters-Erasing 2 or more letters-Building-Demolishing-Extinguishing a fire-Kindling a fire-Putting the finishing touch on an object-Transporting an object between a private domain and the public domain or for a distance of 4 cubits within the public domain.


    The 39 categories of activity prohibited on Shabbat can be divided into four groups• 11 categories are activities required for baking bread.• 13 categories are activities required to make a garment.• 9 categories are activities required to make leather.• 6 categories are activities required to build a structure or building.

Permitted Activities

    The following activities are encouraged on Shabbat:o Spending Shabbat together with one’s own immediate family.o Temple attendance for prayers.o Visiting family and friends (within walking distance).o Hosting guests (hachnasat orchim “hospitality”)o Singing zemirot for Shabbat (special songs for Shabbat)o Reading, studying, and discussing Torah and commentary, Mishnah and Talmud, learning some Halakha and Midrash.

Putting the Shabbat in the Middle

    We were not meant to work hard all week, with no thought for Shabbat, until the day itself actually appears, and then promptly forget about Shabbat when Sunday arrives.  Instead, your whole week should be focused around the Shabbat.  The Shabbat preparation begins 3 days before Shabbat – on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.  That is where the light of the coming Shabbat begins shining.

    Then, in the Middle, is the glorious Shabbat.

    And the 3 days after Shabbat – Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday – they continue receiving the spiritual light of the past Shabbat.

    In this way, even though Shabbat is the 7th (and last) day of the week, it remains the center of your focus throughout the week.

    Here, the Shabbat represents the Menorah of the sacred Temple because the Shabbat is the fount of blessings for the whole week, and the Shabbat is the center of the week.  The Shabbat is the blessing and the essence of the time.

Yeshua is our Sabbath Rest.

    For Messianic believers, Shabbat represents the finished work of Yeshua on our behalf and our new lives as a “New Creation” before the LORD God of Israel.1. The Shabbat remembers G-d as our Creator (Genesis 2:2 and Exodus 31:12-17)2. The Shabbat is one of the first things G-d blessed (Genesis 2:3)3. The Shabbat remembers Yetziat Mitzrayim – the Exodus from Egypt and G-d’s Salvation (Deut 5:15)4. The Shabbat is one of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:8-11, Deut 5:12)5. Yeshua and His disciples observed the Shabbat day and its customs (Mark 1:21, Mark 6:2, Luke 4:16)6. The Apostle Paul observed the Shabbat (Acts 13:13-42 and Acts 18:4)7. The Shabbat provides a means of identifying with the Jewish people, learning about the Shabbat improves your Jewish literacy to make you a more effective witness to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matthew 10:19)8. The Shabbat is a delight – not a burden, a time for celebrating your personal rest in our Messiah Yeshua (Isaiah 58:13, Hebrews 4:9) 

Indeed, all those who honor the Shabbat including the foreigners of Israel will be given a name that is better than sons and daughters and that will never be cut off (Isaiah 56:3-8).9. The Shabbat will be honored in the Millennial Kingdom to come, from new moon to new moon, and from Shabbat to Shabbat, all flesh shall come to worship before Me, declares the LORD (Isaiah 66:23)10. The Shabbat will be honored in the heavenly Jerusalem.  The tree of life is said to yield 12 kinds of fruit, a different fruit each month. (Revelations 22:2). 

Notice that the 12 fruits from the Tree of Life are directly linked to the 12 months of the Jewish year – each month rendering its fruit.

In other words, the sequence of the holidays (moedim), including Shabbat, were always intended to teach us grand revelation about G-d.  That is why G-d created the sun and the moon for signs and for appointed times (Genesis 1:14 and Psalm 104:19)

The Haftarah of Parashat Vayakhel is about the first Temple (bet hamikdash) that Solomon constructed.  In particular, details about the Temple furnishings made by King Hiram of Tyre on behalf of Solomon are detailed in this reading.


The Brit Chadasha reading first repeats the idea of “cheerful giving” that the children of Israel depicted when they gave their freewill offering for the construction of the mishkan(Tabernacle).

The second reading (from 1 Corinthians) reminds us that Yeshua the Mashiach is the true foundation of the Temple and we are the “living stones” of which it is made up.


Deuteronomy 5:15 

You are to remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and Adonai your God brought you out from there with a strong hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore Adonai your God has ordered you to keep the day of Shabbat.

Genesis 2:2 

On the seventh day God was finished with his work which he had made, so he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

Exodus 31:12-17 

12 Adonai said to Moshe, 13 “Tell the people of Isra’el, ‘You are to observe my Shabbats; for this is a sign between me and you through all your generations; so that you will know that I am Adonai, who sets you apart for me. 14 Therefore you are to keep my Shabbat, because it is set apart for you. Everyone who treats it as ordinary must be put to death; for whoever does any work on it is to be cut off from his people. 15 On six days work will get done; but the seventh day is Shabbat, for complete rest, set apart for Adonai. Whoever does any work on the day of Shabbat must be put to death. 16 The people of Isra’el are to keep the Shabbat, to observe Shabbat through all their generations as a perpetual covenant. 17 It is a sign between me and the people of Isra’el forever; for in six days Adonai made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day he stopped working and rested.’”

Genesis 2:3  

God blessed the seventh day and separated it as holy; because on that day God rested from all his work which he had created, so that it itself could produce.

Deuteronomy 5:15 

You are to remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and Adonai your God brought you out from there with a strong hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore Adonai your God has ordered you to keep the day of Shabbat.

Exodus 20:8-11 

“Remember the day, Shabbat, to set it apart for God. You have six days to labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Shabbat for Adonai your God. On it, you are not to do any kind of work — not you, your son or your daughter, not your male or female slave, not your livestock, and not the foreigner staying with you inside the gates to your property. 11 For in six days, Adonai made heaven and earth, the sea and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. This is why Adonai blessed the day, Shabbat, and separated it for himself.

Deut 5:12 

 “‘Observe the day of Shabbat, to set it apart as holy, as Adonai your God ordered you to do.

Mark 1:21 

 They entered K’far-Nachum, and on ShabbatYeshua went into the synagogue and began teaching.

Mark 6:2 

On Shabbat he started to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They asked, “Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom he has been given? What are these miracles worked through him?

Luke 4:16 

Now when he went to Natzeret, where he had been brought up, on Shabbat he went to the synagogue as usual. He stood up to read,

Acts 13:13-42 

Having set sail from Paphos, Sha’ul and his companions arrived at Perga in Pamphylia. There Yochanan left them and returned to Yerushalayim, 14 but the others went on from Perga to Pisidian Antioch, and on Shabbat they went into the synagogue and sat down. 15 After the reading from the Torah and from the Prophets, the synagogue leaders sent them a message, “Brothers, if any of you has a word of exhortation for the people, speak!” 16 So Sha’ul stood, motioned with his hand, and said:

“Men of Isra’el and God-fearers, listen! 17 The God of this people Isra’el chose our fathers. He made the people great during the time when they were living as aliens in Egypt and with a stretched-out arm he led them out of that land.[a] 18 For some forty years[b] he took care of them in the desert, 19 and after he had destroyed seven nations[c] in the land of Kena‘an he gave their land to his people as an inheritance. 20 All this took about 450 years. After that, he gave them judges,[d] down to the prophet Sh’mu’el. 21 Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Sha’ul Ben-Kish, a man from the tribe of Binyamin. After forty years, 22 God removed him and raised up David as king for them, making his approval known with these words, ‘I found David Ben-Yishai to be a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want.’[e]

23 “In keeping with his promise, God has brought to Isra’el from this man’s descendants a deliverer, Yeshua. 24 Now before the coming of Yeshua, Yochanan proclaimed to all the people of Isra’el an immersion in connection with turning to God from sin. 25 But as Yochanan was ending his work, he said, ‘Who do you suppose I am? Well — I’m not! But after me is coming someone, the sandals of whose feet I am unworthy to untie.’

26 “Brothers! — sons of Avraham and those among you who are ‘God-fearers’! It is to us that the message of this deliverance has been sent! 27 For the people living in Yerushalayim and their leaders did not recognize who Yeshua was or understand the message of the Prophets read every Shabbat, so they fulfilled that message by condemning him. 28 They could not find any legitimate ground for a death sentence; nevertheless they asked Pilate to have him executed; 29 and when they had carried out all the things written about him, he was taken down from the stake[f] and placed in a tomb.

30 “But God raised him from the dead! 31 He appeared for many days to those who had come up with him from the Galil to Yerushalayim; and they are now his witnesses to the people.

32 “As for us, we are bringing you the Good News that what God promised to the fathers, 33 he has fulfilled for us the children in raising up Yeshua, as indeed it is written in the second Psalm,

‘You are my Son;
today I have become your Father.’[g]

34 And as for his raising him up from the dead, to return to decay no more, he said,

‘I will give the holy and trustworthy things of David to you.’[h]

35 This is explained elsewhere:

‘You will not let your Holy One see decay.’[i]

36 For David did indeed serve God’s purposes in his own generation; but after that, he died, was buried with his fathers and did see decay37 However, the one God raised up did not see decay.

38 “Therefore, brothers, let it be known to you that through this man is proclaimed forgiveness of sins! 39 That is, God clears everyone who puts his trust in this man, even in regard to all the things concerning which you could not be cleared by the Torah of Moshe.

40 “Watch out, then, so that this word found in the Prophets may not happen to you:

41 ‘You mockers! Look, and marvel, and die!
For in your own time, I am doing a work
that you simply will not believe,
even if someone explains it to you!’ ”[j]

42 As they left, the people invited Sha’ul and Bar-Nabba to tell them more about these matters the following Shabbat

Acts 18:4 

Sha’ul also began carrying on discussions every Shabbat in the synagogue, where he tried to convince both Jews and Greeks.

Matthew 10:19 

But when they bring you to trial, do not worry about what to say or how to say it; when the time comes, you will be given what you should say.

Isaiah 58:13 

“If you hold back your foot on Shabbat
from pursuing your own interests on my holy day;
if you call Shabbat a delight,
Adonai’s holy day, worth honoring;
then honor it by not doing your usual things
or pursuing your interests or speaking about them.

Hebrews 4:9 

So there remains a Shabbat-keeping for God’s people.

Isaiah 56:3-8 

A foreigner joining Adonai should not say,
Adonai will separate me from his people”;
likewise the eunuch should not say,
“I am only a dried-up tree.”

For here is what Adonai says:
“As for the eunuchs who keep my Shabbats,
who choose what pleases me
and hold fast to my covenant:
in my house, within my walls,
I will give them power and a name
greater than sons and daughters;
I will give him an everlasting name
that will not be cut off.

“And the foreigners who join themselves to Adonai
to serve him, to love the name of Adonai,
and to be his workers,
all who keep Shabbat and do not profane it,
and hold fast to my covenant,
I will bring them to my holy mountain
and make them joyful in my house of prayer;
their burnt offerings and sacrifices
will be accepted on my altar;
for my house will be called
a house of prayer for all peoples.”
Adonai Elohim says,
he who gathers Isra’el’s exiles:
“There are yet others I will gather,
besides those gathered already.”

Isaiah 66:23 

“Every month on Rosh-Hodesh
and every week on Shabbat,
everyone living will come
to worship in my presence,” says Adonai.

Revelations 22:2 

Between the main street and the river was the Tree of Life producing twelve kinds of fruit, a different kind every month; and the leaves of the tree were for healing the nations —

Genesis 1:14 

God said, “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to divide the day from the night; let them be for signs, seasons, days and years;

Psalm 104:19 

You made the moon to mark the seasons,
and the sun knows when to set.