This haftarah1 is read twice a year. The first time is on the second day of Sukkot in the Diaspora, and the second time is on parshat Pekudei. With parshat Pekudei, however, we add the two verses that precede the Sukkot haftarah.

The haftarah details how the Temple that King Solomon built was completed. It tells how the Ark was brought and placed in the temple, and talks about how the Ark housed the Two Tablets. Afterwards, the haftarah tells us that the Presence of G‑d filled the Temple in the form of a cloud. It ends off with Solomon blessing the Jewish people. This mirrors the events in parshat Pekudei. When the Jewish people finished building the Mishkan, Moses blessed them. And when the Mishkan was erected, and the Ark and the vessels were brought in, G‑d's Presence descended on it in the form of a cloud. It also mentions that the Two Tablets were placed in the Ark. Even the two extra verses speak about the completion of the Temple and the bringing of vessels into it, just as Pekudei does with regards to the Mishkan.

We see a clear connection between these two readings. But why was this haftarah chosen for the second day of Sukkot?

The simple answer is that Sukkot is mentioned in the first verse. Indeed, the events recounted in the haftarah occurred on Sukkot. But if that were the sole reason, then mere mention of the first verse would seemingly be sufficient!. Why do we read about the Temple, the Ark, the Tablets, and the cloud of G‑d's Presence on the second day of Sukkot? Answering this question will give us a deeper understanding of parshat Pekudei as well.

On Sukkot, in the Grace After Meals, we add the words, "May the Compassionate One erect the sukkah of David which fell (literally, is falling)." This refers to the Temple in Jerusalem. Thus the holiday of Sukkot is on some level connected to the Temple.

In the haftarah it says that the Ark and all the vessels were brought to the Temple, and when the Kohanim left, "The cloud filled the House of G‑d... For the Glory of G‑d had filled the House of G‑d."2

We have to ask: How can the infinite Glory of G‑d be contained in a finite building? It seems impossible! In fact, it is impossible. Yet G‑d, who can do anything, joins infinite and finite in the holy space of the Temple.

The Ark was also a paradox. The Talmud tells us, "The space of the Ark was not measured."3 On one hand it was measurable, and on the other hand it didn't take up space.

Same applies to us. We have a soul, which is a part of G‑d and is infinite, in a body that is finite. We are able to mesh opposites because we are a part of G‑d. Therefore we can draw G‑dliness, which is infinite, into the physical world, which is finite. And that is our mission, to make this finite world into a home for G‑d, who is infinite.

Life on earth is a paradox as well. On one hand, we are meant to put our total trust in G‑d. But at the same time, He wants us to do our best to work in this world, accomplishing to the best of our ability. It is through this meshing of opposites that we complete our mission.4

The second day of Sukkot is only celebrated as a holiday outside of Israel. It is a mundane day that we make holy, drawing the infinite into the finite. It is therefore apropos that we read this haftarah on the second day.

The Temple was the quintessential infinite in finite paradigm. And this is hinted in the word Pekudei, which means “count.” The fact that you can total the sum of something shows that it is finite. Pekudei also means to “connect.”5 This translation of Pekudei refers to the ultimate essential bond, where two become one.

The idea of the Mishkan, and by extension, the Temple, is not just that they be filled with G‑d's Presence, but that the actual physical finite construct becomes one with the infinite Presence of G‑d.6

May we soon merit to see the Third Temple, the sukkah of David, filled and united with G‑d's Glory, with the coming of Moshiach. The time has come.

Dedicated by Irving Bauman, in memory of his father, Harav Moshe Aron Bauman, of blessed memory.