Photo Credit: Jodie Maoz

We are reading the parshios that detail the construction of the Mishkan, the vessels, the garments, and all aspects needed for the service in the Mishkan. You may have heard the often-quoted Chazal in several places (Yerushalmi Brachos 4:8, Tanchuma Parshas Pekudei, and others) that just as we are to build a Mikdash on this world there will be a corresponding Mikdash in Shamayim. What do our sages mean by that and what are we to learn from it? What significance does that have to us, here on Earth?

Rabbi Meiselman, in Torah Chazal and Science, explains that there is a duel universe, a spiritual-metaphysical universe that mirrors the physical one that we live in. In truth, the Rambam explains that the physical world is a manifestation of the underlying spiritual-metaphysical universe. Everything occurring in our world is a reflection of realities and relationships that exist there.

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Chazal frequently relate objects and events in this world to their counterparts in the spiritual-metaphysical world. For example, the earthly Beis HaMikdash is said to be located directly beneath the Beis HaMikdash shel Ma’alah (above) its heavenly counterpart, and the avodah – the sacrificial service – is conducted in both simultaneously. Similarly, Chazal say that there is a sar – an angel or spiritual force – corresponding to many if not all aspects of the physical world down to every blade of grass. The more essential reality is the spiritual-metaphysical one in which these angels or forces exist. Our empirical world is nothing more than a reflection of that deeper reality.

To illustrate: Whenever a physical war is fought on earth, a spiritual war takes place simultaneously between the respective sarim of the earthly combatants. Success in the earthly battle is actually determined not by mundane factors, such as strategy and resources, but by spiritual-metaphysical factors pertaining to the more essential struggle on the higher plane. When the sar of the nation is victorious in the metaphysical world, his country will triumph in the physical world.

So many of the technological advances that the world has come to appreciate over the past few decades bring so many concepts in Judaism to life. For example we believe that everything that we do, all of our good deeds and their counterparts, are recorded. One hundred years ago who could imagine having a device that even record anything, let alone hold enough memory to store even a few minutes of data? But today we are all familiar with video recording and microchips and cards that can store an unimaginable about of video footage. And so, the fundamental belief that our ancestors had to only dream about as a celestial miracle has come to be a commonplace device in many people’s homes.

I am not sure how many of you are familiar with the metaverse. To be clear I’m no expert. But if you google it you will see that the word “metaverse” describes a fully realized digital world that exists beyond the one in which we live. It is a virtual reality platform where people can play games, connect with friends, attend meetings, and even go to virtual concerts. People and businesses are even buying “real estate” in the metaverse.

Sounds ridiculous, I know, but it is what they say is the next level of the internet. In other words, it will likely become more popular in the near future. Why am I boring (or entertaining) you with this information? I think this too brings home another concept that Chazal informed us of, but previously our ancestors had to believe without having anything they could relate to. With the advancement of the metaverse it should be very easy to understand the metaphysical world that Chazal tell us exists. Except the metaverse is a manifestation of the physical world, whereas the physical world is a manifestation of the metaphysical world. But my point is, understanding the concept of a duel universe will become far more realistic when we are accustomed to a duel world in modern technology.

While the concept is in fact very deep, a simple thought that we can emerge with is that our actions on this earth can affect both this world and the spiritual-metaphysical world. Knowledge of this capability and the responsibility that it comes with can help one achieve things he may have perceived to be out of his physical reach. May we be zoche to build the Beis HaMikdash HaShelishi on this world, corresponding to the Beis HaMikdash HaShelishi in Shamayim, speedily in our days, amen.

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Rabbi Fuchs learned in Yeshivas Toras Moshe, where he became a close talmid of Rav Michel Shurkin, shlit”a. While he was there he received semicha from Rav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg, shlit”a. He then learned in Mirrer Yeshiva in Brooklyn, and became a close talmid of Rav Shmuel Berenbaum, zt”l. Rabbi Fuchs received semicha from the Mirrer Yeshiva as well. After Rav Shmuel’s petira Rabbi Fuchs learned in Bais Hatalmud Kollel for six years. He is currently a Shoel Umaishiv in Yeshivas Beis Meir in Lakewood, and a Torah editor and weekly columnist at The Jewish Press.