This week features a double weekly portion, Vayakhel-Pekudei and Shabbat Chazak, signifying reading the end of the book of Exodus.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe writes that these two portions, Vayakhel and Pekudei, focus on the Jewish People building a dwelling place for G‑d, namely the Mishkan - Tabernacle. Unlike the required donation of a half-shekel mentioned in previous weeks, a uniform amount was not stipulated regarding donations for the Tabernacle. Rather, each person gave according to his heart's desire and to his ability. Some gave jewelry and gold, others simply gave oil and wood. In the work of the Tabernacle, all were equal…

Do not think that each person's connection to the Tabernacle was determined by the size of his contribution! The Tabernacle was related equally to everyone whose intent was to help contribute to build G‑d's house - to the wealthy, who donated things of great financial value, as well as to the poor, who gave less expensive items. There was only one mandatory requirement: that they direct their hearts to Heaven.

We see another example of equality in the Tabernacle's building. Betzalel and Ohaliov were the two men chosen to lead the "wisehearted" Jews who helped in the construction (see Lev. 36:1). Why were these two chosen? Betzalel was noted for his very fine lineage; he was a grandchild of Miriam, from the tribe of Judah, the tribe of kingship. Ohaliov, in contrast, was from the tribe of Dan, making him a descendent of the concubines, one of the lesser tribes. Yet regardless of the difference in background, both were chosen for this privilege. In the work of the Tabernacle, all were equal, the pureblooded and simple, the rich and poor - as long as their hearts were directed towards Heaven. We are also supposed to transform and sanctify the physical world through our thoughts, speech and actions...

Nothing in the Torah is coincidental. Even the way the 53 Torah portions are divided is an act of Divine Providence. Every single portion has a particular message to relate to us. Even when two portions are read together, this is true. Both Vayakhel and Pekudei speak about making the Tabernacle and its vessels. Specifically, Vayakhel speaks about Moses gathering the Jewish people to tell them G‑d's command to build the Tabernacle and how they fulfilled this task in actuality. Pekudei concludes with how all this brought about the dwelling of the Divine Presence on the Tabernacle. While Vayakhel primarily focuses on the service of the Jewish people in this world below through their donations and efforts to serve G‑d Above, Pekudei emphasizes the opposite, the service from Above to Below. G‑d allowed His Presence to dwell in the Tabernacle, descending into This World and drawing close to its people. This year we read the two portions together, teaching us that we have to combine the two activities. Each of us must serve G‑d in the way of below to Above and, simultaneously, use this service to draw a response from Above to below. This is the best contribution we can give to hasten the revelation of the future redemption.