The haftarah1 for parshat Vayakhel is from the book of Melachim Aleph (I Kings). It speaks about the details of the construction of the Temple that King Solomon built, specifically the great pillars of copper that were at the entrance of the Heichal. One was named Jachin and the other was Boaz. We also read of the Yam, which was a pool of water for the Kohanim to immerse in, which was also made of copper.

The Pillars

The pillars that he made were 4 cubits (6 to 8 feet) wide,2 and 18 cubits (27 to 36 feet) high. The pillars had crowns shaped like spheres and the tops of the spheres were like a rose. Around the spheres were lattices resembling interwoven branches, and on them were pomegranates. The spheres were 5 cubits (7.5 to 10 feet) high, and they were made of copper, including the lattices and the pomegranates. Altogether, they were 23 cubits (34.5 to 46 feet) high.3

The one on the right of the entrance of the Heichal was named Jachin (Yachin), similar to the word yikon, meaning “established,” symbolizing the wish that the Temple stand forever. And the pillar on the left was named Boaz, a contraction of two words, bo az, meaning, “in it is strength,” that the Jewish people should get strength from the service in the Temple.4

The Yam was a huge basin, 10 cubits (15 to 20 feet) wide and 5 cubits (7.5 to 10 feet) high. It had two rows of egg shapes around it, 2 cubits beneath the rim,5 in the egg shapes were the form of a face of an ox. It had a base that was made of twelve oxen, facing outward, three oxen to every direction.

The connection to our parshah is that parshat Vayakhel tells about the construction of the Mishkan and its vessels by Betzalel and Eliav. The haftarah tells about the construction of the Temple by Hiram. In a way, it is a continuation of the parshah, because it only tells about the construction of two Temple elements that didn't exist in the Mishkan.

The Two Hirams

Hiram was from Tzur (Tyre). He was a Jewish coppersmith, not to be confused by Hiram the king of Tyre, who was involved in the construction of the Temple, supplying materials and craftsmen.

You may ask: How could the Temple be built by the King of Tyre and his craftsmen when they were not Jewish. Shouldn't the Temple be built by Jewish people?

In Torah, there are three stages accomplishing what G‑d wants. First is the end result. Second is the action. And third is the person performing the action. Depending on how holy the thing is, so is the investment in the three levels. Something that is very holy, not only does it need to get done, but the way it is done is of utter importance. On the other hand, something that is not holy doesn't matter as much in how it gets done or who does it, rather, that it gets done.

This is one of the reasons why the Temple could be built by King Hiram and his craftsmen, and the supplies could be provided by him. First of all, the cedars and the other supplies that Hiram provided would not become holy until later, when the Temple was completed. Now that they were just bringing the materials, there was no holiness in that. The same is with the construction of the Temple. Since the holiness wouldn't come until it was completed, it was able to be done even by King Hiram and his craftsmen.6

However, Hiram the coppersmith was Jewish. His father was from the tribe of Naftali and his mother was from the tribe of Dan.7 The haftarah tells us that his father was a coppersmith. Why is this important to know? Our sages learn from here that a son should learn his father's trade, as Hiram did. Hiram was also a skilled goldsmith, silversmith, and blacksmith, but since he was only hired to do copper work, the haftarah only mentions that.8

When Do We Read this Haftarah?

This haftarah is hardly ever read, because on many years Vayakhel is read with Pekudei, and when that happens it is either parshat Parah or Hachodesh, which have special Haftorot, and even when it is read alone, it is often parshat Shekalim or Parah, which also have special Haftorahs.

May we merit to see the Third Temple built, with the coming of Moshiach. May he come soon.