In this week’s parshah, parshiyos VaYakhel-P’kudei, Moshe Rabbeinu gathers B’nei Yisrael to tell them about the construction of the Mishkan (the Tabernacle). This appears somewhat strange, for at no other time when Moshe Rabbeinu conveyed a mitzvah does the Torah tell us that he gathered all the people together.
Perhaps the reason was based on his prophecy that the Beis HaMikdash will be destroyed because of sin’as chinam (unfounded hatred). Jews at that time would be disunited and dislike each other for no valid reason. Because of this needless hatred, Hashem will have the Beis HaMikdash destroyed. To avoid this same fate befalling the Mishkan that Moshe was about to build in the Wilderness, he gathered the people and wanted them to agree to build the Mishkan in unity. There was to be no hatred or bad feelings among them.
The Rambam highlights the theme of divine unity when describing the construction of the Mishkan. The Rambam explains that emphasis on intention in the construction of the Mishkan is meant to underscore the fact that the Mishkan is not simply a physical structure, but a spiritual space designed to cultivate a sense of holiness in our daily lives. We need to look beyond the physical to something deeper.
“V’asu li mikdash v’shachanti b’socham” (And you shall make for Me a sanctuary, and I will dwell in them – Sh’mos 25:8).
The Nefesh HaChaim (the classic work on Jewish thought by Rav Chaim Volozhiner, 1749-1821) 1:4 explains that by speaking in the plural, the Torah is teaching us that every person has the ability to become a dwelling place for the Divine Presence in this world. By refining ourselves and improving our character traits, we turn ourselves into a place the Shechinah (Hashem’s Presence) can feel comfortable dwelling in. We actually become an additional place in this world for Hashem’s Presence to reside.
May the time come soon, and in our days, when the relationship between Hashem and the Jewish People is fully restored, and His Divine Presence is once again manifest to us all in the newly rebuilt Beis HaMikdash. V’chein y’hi ratzon.
List of People Who Need a r’fuah sh’leimah (a complete recovery)
Please recite Psalms 20, 30, 88, 121, and 130.
Yosef Yitzchak HaLevi ben Miriam Devorah
Shalom Dovir ben Shaina Brachah
Shneor Zalman ben Chanah
Shalom Mendel ben Chanah Sarah
Yitzchak ben Yonit Mendal
Menachem Mendel HaKohen ben Chanah
Levi Yitzchak ben Nechamah Dinah
Yaakov ben Elisheva Yael
Yisrael Aryeh Lev ben Miriam
HaRav Ben-Tzion Tuviah ben Ertel
David ben Sarah
Yaakov Yosef ben Paya
Liran Brachah bas Shaindel Leah
Esther Hadassah bas Devorah
Tamar Yael Mina bas Chanah
Yael bas Sharon
Vera Victoria bas Maya Mafrat