Monday, February 28, 2011

Temporary Mishkans and Temples and our ongoing relationship with H-shem

Thanks to my friend Channah for sending these beautiful insights from Partners in Torah's Rabbi Elazar Meisels:

Talking Points - PEKUDEI

"These are the accounts of the Mishkan (Tabernacle), the Mishkan of Testimony, that were drawn up by Moshe's order; for the work of the Levites under the direction of Isamar, son of Aharon the Kohein." 38:21
"Is there really a Jerusalem in the Heavens [that corresponds to the earthly city of Jerusalem and its Temple]? Indeed there is! As it is written..." - Talmud, Tractate Taanis 5a
The Mishkan, The Mishkan - The dual use of the term Mishkan in this verse is to symbolize the existence of the two Mishkans; one in heaven and one on earth. The word "Mishkan" derives from the word, "moshech" which means, "to draw from," and indicates that the Mishkan below drew its strength and sanctity from the Mishkan on high. - Rabbeinu Bachya
Although our corporeal and limited minds cannot comprehend the existence of a heavenly Mishkan, our sages assure us that such a "place" exists, and that it served as the spiritual component for, and provided spiritual sustenance for Hashem's earthly abode. Additionally, the Talmud teaches that although His earthly abode no longer stands, the heavenly abode is still very much in existence and provides an assurance for a future rebuilding of the Temple. It is only here on earth that our sins affected our relationship with the Almighty, causing Him to withdraw from us. In the spiritual realms however, the relationship is very much alive, and awaits only our renewed interest in reviving the relationship to its former levels, before inspiring the rebuilding of the Third Temple, speedily in our time!
"These are the accounts of the Mishkan, the Mishkan of Testimony, that were drawn up by Moshe's order; for the work of the Levites under the direction of Isamar, son of Aharon the Kohein." 38:21
The Mishkan, The Mishkan - The word "Mishkan" is mentioned twice in the verse. This is an allusion to the Beis Hamikdash which was twice taken as " collateral" [symbolized by the word "Mishkan" which also means "collateral"] by being destroyed due to the iniquities of the Jewish people. - Medrash Tanchumah 5, Rashi, Daas Zekeinim
The destruction of the two Batei Mikdash is starkly alluded to in the words, "HaMishkan" and "Mishkan HaEidus."
Mishkan = 410 - the number of years that the first Bais HaMikdash was in existence until its destruction
HaMishkan = 415+5 [the number of letters in the word] = 420 -The number of years that the second Bais HaMikdash was in existence until its destruction.
HaEidus [lacking a Vov in this verse] = 480 - The number of years from the Exodus until Shlomo HaMelech built the Bais HaMikdash.
All of these events were foreseen by Moshe well in advance of their occurrence and hinted to in this verse. - Rabbeinu Bachya
It is important to note that even at the height of their excitement over the construction of the Mishkan, the leaders were well aware of its limited lifespan. They also foresaw that many years would pass before the construction of the first Bais HaMikdash (Holy Temple), which would be destroyed, rebuilt, and destroyed again. The message contained with this is that although the length of the exile is a difficult and bitter pill to swallow, it is not a cause for concern about the steadfastness of our relationship with Hashem, since it is all part of a plan that was foretold well in advance. Our sins may have temporarily sidetracked the relationship, but they never doomed it or gave Him cause to reject us in favor of some other religion.
"For the cloud of Hashem was upon the Mishkan by day, and fire would be on it by night, before the eyes of the entire House of Israel, throughout their travels." 40:38
Before The... Entire House of Israel - Although the Clouds of Glory accompanied the nation upon their departure from Egypt, it only remained with them until they reached the Sea of Reeds, and was only visible to the prophets among them. It was only after Moshe requested [Shmos 33:17] that Hashem elevate the entire nation to a level where His presence would be visible to all, that Hashem granted his request and the Clouds appeared before "the entire House of Israel." It is this stunningly crystal clear degree of Divine perception whose return we eagerly anticipate in the Messianic Era. - Gaon of Vilna (Rabbi Elijah ben Solomon Zalman, (1720-1797)
In his introduction to the Book of Shmos (Exodus), Ramban writes that this Book is the story of the first national exile and redemption of the Jewish people. This cycle could not be considered complete until they returned to the exalted level of their forefathers upon whom the presence of Hashem rested constantly on their tents. It was not until the construction of the Mishkan that this goal was realized as evidenced in this verse. Therefore, it is a fitting conclusion to this Book.

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