Communities and Crowds
This week’s Parshah and its name: Vayakhel is the Torah’s primer on how to build community.
It does so in a subtle way. It uses a single verb, k-h-l, to describe two very different activities. The first appears in last week’s parsha at the beginning of the story of the Golden Calf. “When the people saw that Moshe was long delayed in coming down the mountain, they gathered (vayikahel) around Aharon and said to him: get up, make us gods to go before us. This man Moshe who brought us out of Egypt – we have no idea what has become of him” (Ex. 32:1). The second is the opening verse of this week’s parsha: “Moshe assembled (vayakhel) all the community of Israel and said to them: these are the things the Lord has commanded you to do” (Ex. 35:1).