Exodus 38:22 And Bezalel the son of Uri the son of Hur from the tribe of Yehuda made all that God had commanded Moshe.
Gemora Yerushalmi Brachos, Perek 4, Halacha 3 – R. Samuel bar Nahmani in the name of R. Yohanan, “[The eighteen blessings of our thrice daily prayers] correspond to the eighteen commands [i.e. the words, ‘As the Lord had commanded’] in the passage concerning the building of the Tabernacle [Exod. 38:21ff.].” Said R. Hiyya bar Abba, “Only [those commands mentioned] between, ‘And with him was Oholiab the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan’ [Exod. 38:23] and the end of the book [are counted, excluding the first command in verse 22].”
Torah Temimah Colloquial Translation on Note #3:
In other words there are 18 times that it mentions in this parsha “as God commanded” besides this one time in our posuk. Perhaps our posuk is excluded from the counting because all of the work was done by Bezalel and Ohaliab but the command in our posuk is just to Bezalel.
Note that the reason our section of the chumash is called ‘the second dwelling’ perhaps is because the topic of building the dwelling is written twice in the Torah, once in Parshat Terumah and once here in Parshat Pekudei. The section in Parshat Terumah is called ‘the first dwelling’ and this section is called ‘the second dwelling.’ Perhaps it should have called it the ‘secondary dwelling’ [since this section is secondary to the first section.] The commentaries explain, however, a [somewhat] far-fetched explanation [to the phrase ‘second dwelling’] that fits in well with this being the reason for the association of the 18 blessings of our daily prayers with the 18 commandments in our section. It is possible to explain it according to what it says in Midrash Rabba when it is explaining the first sentence of our parsha which says, “These are the accounts of the dwelling, the dwelling of the Testimony…” The Midrash Rabba explains the use of the word ‘dwelling’ twice as a reference to the dwelling [the temple] that was twice destroyed because of our sins. Similarly it says in Shmos Rabba, Perek 31 on the posuk (Leviticus 26:11) “I will put my dwelling place amongst you” – don’t read it as “dwelling place” read it instead as “my pledge”. [A pledge is something that one gives to another when one borrows money from him. In the case, the “pledge” refers to the temple that was destroyed when God took it back. In Hebrew the word for dwelling place and the word for pledge have the same root.]
This is similar to what Bilam says when he curses [and is forced to bless] the Jewish people. “How goodly are your tents, your dwelling places Israel.” The word “tent” is a reference to the temple when it is standing and the word “dwelling place” refers to the temple when it has been destroyed.
After the temple was destroyed and the sacrifices which served as an atonement for our sins were no longer brought, all we are left with is our prayers to replace the sacrifices in the temple. This is alluded to in the correspondence of the number of commands given to Bezalel and Ohaliab being exactly equal to the number of blessings in our thrice daily prayers.
This is similar to the prayers for Rosh Hashanah which have ten posukim to reference the ten utterances with which God created the world. There are other similar examples.
Editor’s Note: This note has no Talmudic arguments. It is just a beautiful homily on prayer and how prayer is all we have left now that the temple has been destroyed.