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So I promised no golden calves this week, but I didn’t promise no gold.

In fact, gold is the color of choice for this week’s parashah. It not only symbolizes the sin of the Golden Calf, but it also represents the kapparah (atonement/recompense) for that sin as it was used to make the lavish keilim (vessels) in the mishkan (tabernacle). I love that the material that caused such a dramatic spiritual downfall for Bnei Yisrael is the very material mandated for the mishkan–which will elevate Bnei Yisrael to spiritual heights. That, I think, is essentially the most potent message of the parashah–and the next two that deal with the actual construction of the mishkan. Material objects (as well as personality traits, behaviors, etc.) begin as inherently neutral in their impact on the world. It matters, however, how humans use and relate to the materials. We have the potential to affect whether something quickens our descent into a spiritual quagmire or hastens our ascent to spiritual highs. That’s why Onkelos, when translating the text at the start of the parashah about the basin for washing the kohanim’s hands and feet, uses the work kiddush (sanctify) rather than rachatz (wash), because even the familiar and common act of washing can become holy. We possess the power to transform the mundane–material items, everyday actions, or even ourselves–into the sacred and sanctified.

On to the menu:

A golden meal that will, God willing, brighten and elevate shabbat!

  • Harvest Gold Lentil Soup
  • Golden Roasted Chicken
  • Shimmery Corn Kugel
  • Green and Gold String Bean Salad
  • Marinated Golden Beets
  • Golden Carrot Coins
  • Golden Yellow Tomato Salad
  • Baked Golden Delicious Apples stuffed with Golden Raisins

Next week it should be challenging (and hopefully fun) to come up with ways that the mishkan can come to the table.

Have a shimmering shabbat!


Tammie Zaks Rapps creates menu plans that reflect each week’s Torah reading. Tammie feels that “Themed Shabbat meals allow us to focus on the Parashat HaShavua in an engaging and dynamic way.” Check out Tammie’s blog a and follow her here on ChallahCrumbs!