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Cloudy with a chance of pomegranates.

This week’s parashah details the extraordinary amounts of gold, silver, and precious resources that Bnei Yisrael donated to the construction of the mishkan. It then offers painstaking instructions about the creation of the bigdei kehunah, priestly garments (that were first described in Parashat Tetzaveh), even explaining how the artisans were able to hammer gold so thinly that it could be spun into thread and woven together with the other dyed yarns. From the bigdei kehunah, the parashah highlights the adornment at the bottom of the robe/tunic. The hemline was fringed with small bells and pomegranate shaped ornaments. In celebration of this sacred fashion, we will be having a meal full of bells and pomegranates. The bells will be served in two forms: stuffed bell peppers and bell-shaped pasta (campanelle). The pomegranate will glaze our chicken, be featured in our beverages, and make a guest appearance in a green salad.

The end of the parashah introduces another evocative image: the cloud that rested over the mishkan symbolizing Hashem’s presence in the mishkan. My daughters are creating a large paper cloud that we will suspend from the light fixture over the shabbat table. I’m also making meringue clouds that will rest over berry compote for dessert. I also hope we have a chance to discuss the image of the cloud and why Hashem might have chosen that way to represent the Shechinah. I also loved a short question that I found somewhere in the blogoshpere about the cloud: What is the relationship between the cloud that rested over Sarah’s tent and the cloud over the mishkan? The blogger suggested that every Jewish home should be a mini-mishkan imbued with Hashem’s presence. How to do so will be a great conversation starter.

Shabbat Shalom!