Photo Credit: Jodie Maoz

We are still in the parshios that detail the building of the Mishkan, its vessels and the priestly garments. We read about the Menorah, the source of light and chachma – wisdom, the shulchan, the source of all bracha, and the mezbayach hazahav and nechoshes. We read about the kohanim’s garments and the avoda that they performed in the Mishkan. We also read about the kohen gadol and his special garments and the avoda, which he performed. Today we can only imagine what it was like to see such a lofty place and service. So much detail is given to all the beauty and splendor of the Mishkan. In fact, it is the longest topic discussed in the written Torah.

The Mishkan is referred to in the Torah as the Mishkan Ha’eidus – the Tabernacle of testimony. Rashi explains that this refers to the Aron Ha’eidus, which had the Luchos Ha’eidus in side it. The purpose of all the splendor of the Mishkan was for the hashra’as hashechina, which emanated from on top of the Aron, more specifically from in-between the Kruvim on the Kapores.

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Rashi cites an interesting dialogue that took place between Moshe Rabbeinu and Betzalel, the lead builder. Moshe Rabbeinu argued that they should build the vessels for the Mishkan before the actual Mishkan. Betzalel countered, that the derech haolam – normal way of the world – is to first build a house and then attain furniture. Why would we build the furniture before the structure that will house them? Moshe turned to Hashem who said that Betzalel was correct the Mishkan should be built first.

The obvious question is what was Moshe Rabbeinu thinking? Why did he want to build the vessels – the furniture – before the Mishkan – the house?

My Rebbe, Rav Shmuel Berenbaum, zt”l, the Mirrer Rosh Yeshiva, said obviously Moshe knew that the derech haolam was to build a house before the furniture. However, he felt that since we are building the Mishkan Hashem, a spiritual house, we should do the exact opposite of what the ways of this material world does. Kedusha has nothing to do with chullin – with mundane processes.

Hashem answered that He wants His spiritual house to be built specifically using the physical processes of this world, davka. By using the materialistic aspects of this world properly and for the right things we have the ability to elevate them into spiritual items.

The same applied to the mirrors of the kiyor. The women brought the mirrors that they had used in Mitzrayim to beautify themselves and attract their husbands. Moshe Rabbeinu felt that such an item did not belong in the Mishkan. However, Hashem told him that since they used these physical items for a holy use with the correct intentions they elevated them to a spiritual level and they most definitely should be used in the Mishkan Hashem. And indeed they were used in the building of the kiyor.

The Kutzker Rebbe is quoted as explaining the pasuk in parshas Mishpatim that says “anshei kodesh tiyu li” Hashem wants holy people, not holy malachim! Our job is not to be a malach; rather it is to be a human being that utilizes our mundane bodily needs to elevate ourselves to reach higher levels of kedusha.

Getting married as well is something that people in this world mistakenly consider mundane and physical. However, the truth is when we get married we perform kedushin and transform the entire process into one of kedusha, which is the foundation upon which a couple builds their home and life. In fact, when a Jewish couple gets married they have the most potential to bring kedusha into their lives as the Gemara says, ish v’isha shalom beineihem Shechina shruya beineihem – when there is peace between a man and a woman the Shechina rests between them.

May we meet this challenge, and in that regard build a Mishkan in our own lives, utilizing the physical worldly processes, and be zoche to greet Mashiach tzidkeinu, 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.