Vol 6.16 - Terumah 1 Spanish French Audio Video
Constructing the Mishkan - A Common Task
There are three opinions offered by our Sages regarding the time at which this took place:
One opinion1 is that both the command to build the Mishkan and the Jews’ donations occurred soon after the Torah was given, and prior to the sin of the Golden Calf.
A second opinion holds that both the command and the bringing of gifts took place after G-d forgave the Jewish people on Yom Kippur for the sin of the Golden Calf, “so that all the nations would know that they the Jewish people were forgiven for the sin of the Calf.”2
The third opinion is that G-d’s command came to Moshe before the sin of the Golden Calf, but that he passed it on to the people only after Yom Kippur.3
The Talmud informs us4 that although there may be divergent opinions among our Sages, “All are equally the words of the living G-d.”
Thus, it is understood that although the construction of the Mishkan and the bringing of donations had to have happened in accordance with only one of these three schedules, all three opinions are true as they relate to the spiritual Mishkan within the heart of every Jew.
In what regard are they all true?
Following G-d’s giving of the Torah, and before the sin of the Golden Calf, the Jewish people were on the level of tzaddikim , the truly righteous. Then they committed the sin of the Golden Calf. When they were forgiven on Yom Kippur, they attained the level of ba’alei teshuvah , penitents.
Herein lies the difference between the abovementioned opinions: According to the opinion that the command to build the Mishkan and the giving of donations occurred soon after the giving of the Torah and prior to the sin of the Golden Calf, the Mishkan was constructed by tzaddikim.
According to the opinion that the command to construct the Mishkan came on Yom Kippur , its erection was the work of penitents.
According to the opinion that the sin of the Golden Calf took place between the time of the command to make the Mishkan and its actual construction, even the wicked — those who sinned with the Golden Calf — were able to participate in the construction of a Sanctuary for G-d.
The lesson is as follows: A Jew on the lofty plane of a tzaddik may mistakenly think that having attained so high a level he should involve himself with purely spiritual matters, and that making a physical dwelling place for G-d should be left to those still struggling with the corporeal world.
Herein comes the lesson of the first opinion: The command to construct the Sanctuary was given to tzaddikim. Since the tzaddik still exists within this physical world, failing to elevate the mundane by transforming it into a Mishkan can lead to a spiritual downfall.
We may think that this manner of service applies only to a tzaddik , who never had to confront and vanquish evil. The penitent, however, has achieved this victory, and may think that he need not occupy himself any longer with physical service. We therefore have the second opinion, which informs us that the command to construct the Sanctuary was given to penitents.
Then we have the third opinion: It teaches us that repentance is not a prerequisite to doing good deeds. Even something as sacred as a Sanctuary for G-d may be built by sinners who have not yet repented.
Begin doing good at once, secure in the knowledge that repentance will surely follow!
1. Zohar II 224a.
….Speak to Bnei Yisrael and have a contribution taken for Me….” – Shemot 25:2
דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְיִקְחוּ לִי תְּרוּמָה – שמות כה, ב
According to one opinion in the Zohar (vol. 2 p. 224a), G-d’s command that the Mishkan be built, as well as the collection of materials for its construction, took place immediately after the Giving of the Torah—before Bnei Yisrael sinned with the Golden Calf. At that point, Bnei Yisrael were in their most elevated and perfect state, having been cleansed at the Giving of the Torah from any spiritual filth (see Talmud, Shabbos 146a). The command that Bnei Yisrael now build the Mishkan implies that making a Mishkan, a home for G-d from our physical lives and mundane possessions is, in fact, humanity’s highest objective.
Humanity’s Most Important Goal
Furthermore, support for the opinion that the collection for the Mishkan took place before the sin of the Golden Calf is found in the fact that the Golden Calf was made from molten earrings (Shemos 32:2-3), and not from the plentiful supply of gold that Bnei Yisrael had taken from the Egyptians. The reason for this, explains the Zohar, was because most of the gold they owned had already been donated for the Mishkan. This demonstrates how critical it is for us to elevate all aspects of our physical lives, by transforming them into a means of serving G-d. For as we see from this opinion in the Zohar, the bulk of Bnei Yisrael’s gold was saved from contributing toward the most calamitous sin in history only because it had already been transformed and sanctified for the Mishkan, the home we make for G-d from our material possessions.
|Date Modified:||Date Reviewed:|