We use cookies to provide some features and experiences in QOSHE

More information  .  Close
Aa Aa Aa
- A +

Can you see the wood from the trees?

14 1 2

“There’s no place like home” — Dorothy, Wizard of Oz

There are many outstanding accomplishments for us as a nation, but building is certainly not amongst them. It may come therefore as somewhat of a surprise to discover that from the sedra of Terumah onwards the rest of the book of Shemot centres around the building of the Tabernacle – a physical home for G-d’s presence to reside in this world. In fact, the Chassidic literature notes the incongruency in the command to “build for me a tabernacle and I will dwell in them” rather than “I will dwell in it”. The notion they suggest, is that each and every Jew, should see themselves with the capability for holiness and by elevating themselves they create a space for G-d to dwell in each person’s life and in this world. As we shall discover this insight goes to the core of the essence of the Mishkan. (Tabernacle)

Many of the greatest scholars have questioned what was the initial necessity for establishing a house for G-d in this world? Why would G-d need for us to build a physical home here on earth? The origins of the purpose for the Mishkan are itself cloaked in mystique.

One school of thought originates from the Midrashic literature and the Sforno, who point to the fact initially there was not perceived a need for such a structure in this world. After all, Melo kol Haaretz kevodo– G-d’s presence filled the world.

The Jewish people at the time had recently experienced both individually and collectively Revelation at Sinai, naturally they felt a constant closeness to G-d. That palpable awareness of G-d’s presence, gradually dissipated and led in turn to the sin of the golden calf, a low point in Jewish history.

According to the medieval commentator Ramban, the origins of the sin of the golden calf stemmed from a psychological mistaken belief by the people. It occurred when Moshe failed to descend from Sinai at the appointed time the people became filled with tremendous insecurity. Moshe had been their rock; he was everything and they saw themselves as insignificant in terms of their service and contribution. The people had seen Moshe their leader having redeemed them from slavery, splitting the sea and receiving the Torah. Their mindset was that great spiritual achievement was for the few those of a lofty calibre but not for the masses.


© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

Get it on Google Play