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ויערך עליו ערך לחם לפני ד' כאשר צוה ד' את משה

He prepared on it the setting of bread before Hashem, as Hashem commanded Moshe. (40:23)

Everything in the Mishkan was carried out precisely as Hashem had commanded Moshe Rabbeinu – no more – no less – no infusion of self. Their personal zeal and enthusiasm in every aspect of their work were completely subordinated to the commands of Hashem. None of the craftsmen made any attempt to inject their own ideas or their own individuality to the construction of the Mishkan. They executed their mission obediently, with scrupulous care and precision, with unabashed joy at having been able to serve Hashem. By doing this, they achieved the sublime moral perfection which characterizes an eved, servant,…

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אלה פקודי המשכן משכן העדות

These are the mountings of the Mishkan, the Mishkan of Testimony. (38:21)

The word Mishkan is repeated (Rashi, citing the Midrash), alluding to the two Batei Mikdash (replacing the Mishkan) which were taken from us. The word Mishkan has the same letters as the word mashkon, which means collateral. This intimates (say Chazal) that the two Batei Mikdash are collateral for Klal Yisrael’s sins. When we sinned, we lost them, and they are being held in lieu of our repentance, after which the Bais Hamikdash will be restored to its previous glory. Veritably, in Jewish society, the most important place of worship is one’s own heart. The purpose of the Mishkan’s services…

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ויקם משה את המשכן... וישם את מכסה האהל עליו מלמעלה כאשר צוה ד' את משה

Moshe erected the Mishkan… and he put the cover of the Tent-spread on it from above as Hashem commanded Moshe. (40:18,19)

Moshe Rabbeinu was the one who raised the Mishkan, assembling it in accordance with Hashem’s command. Betzalel was the architect of the Mishkan, preparing its parts and vessels, so that Moshe could erect it. Why Moshe?  Why not Betzalel?   Why not Aharon? It is not as if they did not have a vested interest in seeing the finished product. To Betzalel, it would mean that he had carried out Hashem’s Will to build the Mishkan in order to atone for the sin of the Golden Calf, during which his grandfather had been murdered. Aharon HaKohen played a role in the creation…

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ויביאו את המשכן אל משה

And they brought the Mishkan to Moshe. (39:33)

Rashi explains that the people came to Moshe Rabbeinu with a problem: They had formed all of the Mishkan’s components, but they just could not seem to erect it. Whatever they did – did not endure. Apparently, Hashem wanted Moshe to put the finishing touch on the Mishkan. Rashi teaches that Moshe had previously not been involved in either contributing towards nor constructing the Mishkan. Hashem gave him the opportunity to put the finishing touch on their work. Indeed, without him their work would have been for naught, because it could not achieve viability until it was standing erect. Furthermore,…

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בקע לגלגלת מחצית השקל בשקל הקדש לכל העבר על הפקדים

A beka for every head, a half-shekel to the sacred shekel for everyone who passed through the census takers. (38:26)

So many people contributed towards the Mishkan. One might think that due to the sheer numbers of contributors, the individual contribution/contributor would become lost in the shuffle. Such thoughts are the result of a small mind or limited cognitive ability. Nothing is insignificant in the eyes of Hashem. Indeed, this is true concerning all spirituality. Everything counts. One never knows what good can result from a single act of spirituality. The following vignettes underscore this idea. A young Kollel fellow maintained an outreach program out of a small shul in central Eretz Yisrael. He was extremely dedicated to his mission…

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אלה פקודי המשכן

These are the accountings of the Mishkan. (38:21)

The Torah dedicates four parshiyos to details of the construction of the Mishkan, its keilim, utensils, and the Bigdei Kehunah, Priestly vestments, worn by the Kohanim when they performed the avodah, service, in the Mishkan/Bais Hamikdash. Both Parashas Vayakhel and Parashas Pekudei recap the many contributions and utensils required for the construction of the Mishkan. All of this was for the place in which Hashem’s Shechinah, Divine Presence, would repose here on earth. Basking in the Shechinah’s Presence would seem to be the penultimate experience. Coming to Yerushalayim just to be in the Holy City, near the Bais Hamikdash, would…

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קחו מאתכם תרומה לה'

Take from yourselves a terumah, portion, for Hashem. (35:5)

What is the meaning of Kechu me’itchem, “Take from yourselves?” From whom else should they take, if not from themselves? The sefer, Torei Zahav, offers an insightful interpretation of this phrase. One who is about to offer a terumah, portion, to Hashem; i.e., one who wants to determine the best medium, the strongest motivation, for serving Hashem, should take from himself. He should study his own life experiences and ask himself, “I receive so much from Hashem. I owe Him everything. I should serve Him in a manner that shows that I know, I care, I am thankful.” The author…

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אשר צוה ד' את משה

As Hashem commanded Moshe. (38:22)

Nineteen times (actually eighteen, with a slight deviation in the nineteenth), the Torah makes a point of emphasizing the peoples’ dedication to prepare the Mishkan and all of its appurtenances in accordance with Hashem’s command, as conveyed through Moshe Rabbeinu. This teaches us, explains Horav Mordechai Illan, zl, that, even concerning the Mishkan, which is totally imbued with Hashem’s Presence and is the essence of kedushah, sanctity, it is possible to be penetrated with a machasheves pigal, an unacceptable, deviated thought, as was evinced with the construction of the eigal ha’zahav, Golden Calf, so close following the Giving of the…

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ביום החדש הראשון באחד לחדש תקים את משכן אהל מועד

On the first day of the new moon, on the first day of the month, you shall set up the Mishkan of the Ohel Moed. (40:1,2)

Chazal (Yalkut Melachim 184) teach that the work of constructing the parts of the Mishkan actually concluded on Kislev 25, but Hashem delayed its completion until the month of Nissan – the month in which Yitzchak Avinu was born. What is the significance of the date of Kislev 25 as the date on which the Mishkan was ready? Why did they delay until Rosh Chodesh Nissan to use the Mishkan? Last, what role does Yitzchak play vis-à-vis the implementation of the Mishkan? The Zera Shimshon quotes Rabbeinu Bachya (Pikudei 21) who says that the construction of the Mishkan corresponded to…

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מקבץ נדחי עמו ישראל

Mekabeitz nidchei Amo Yisrael. Who gathers the dispersed of His People Yisrael.

Three elements are to be discerned in this brachah. It begins with Teka b’shofar which shall proclaim to the nations, commanding them to set free the Jewish people and allow them to liberate their Land. Following this, a banner will be raised for all that long for redemption. This is now possible because the nations have been given the “message” via the blast of the great shofar. The opportunity for return is now available for all who seek it. Last, the opportunity is available for all of the lost Jews who have strayed due to ignorance, who, through no fault…

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