From Where Did the Materials for the Tabernacle Come?

God has not ceased to give us gifts as he did in the desert.

Professor Gerald Aranoff,

Judaism Prof. G. Aranoff
Prof. G. Aranoff
INN:GA

From Where Did the Materials for the Tabernacle Come? They  came from the Garden of Eden

We read in this week’s parsha (Torah portion):

Take from among you gifts to the L; everyone whose heart so moves him shall bring them gifts for the Lord: gold, silver, and copper; ablue, purple, and crimson yarns, fine linen, and goats’ hair; tanned ram skins, dolphin skins, and acacia wood; 8oil for lighting, spices for the anointing oil and for the aromatic incense; lapis lazuli and other stones for setting, for the ephod and the breastpiece. And let all among you who are skilled come and make all that the Lord has commanded: the Tabernacle, its tent and its covering, its clasps and its planks, its bars, its posts, and its sockets (Ex. 35:5-11).

In the midrash, the materials for the Tabernacle came From the Garden of Eden, from the 6 days of creation.  God hid them.  God revealed them to Moses and the Israelites for the Tabernacle.  The Tabernacle was built fast: In the first month of the second year, on the first of the month, the Tabernacle was set up. (Ex. 40:17).  We canunderstand building quickly,  having materials from the Garden of Eden

Yoma 39b:

Throw open your gates, O Lebanon, And let fire consume your cedars! (Zacharia 11:1). R. Isaac b. Tablai said: Why is its (The Sanctuary) name called Lebanon? Because it makes white the sins of Israel (A play on the root for white and the world Lebanon: לבנון, connected with לבן).

R. Zutra b. Tobiah said: Why is it called Forest, as it is written: All King Solomon’s drinking cups were of gold, and all the utensils of the Lebanon Forest House were of pure gold: silver did not count for anything in Solomon’s days (I Kings 10:21).

The Lebanon Forest House? To tell you that just as a forest produces sprouts, so does the Temple. For R. Hosea said: When Solomon built the Sanctuary, he planted therein all sorts of precious golden trees, which brought forth fruit in their season. When the wind blew against them, their fruits would fall down, as it is said: Let abundant grain be in the land, to the tops of the mountains; let his crops thrive like the forest of Lebanon; and let men sprout up in towns like country grass (Psalms 72:16). 

They were a source of income for the priesthood. But as soon as the idolaters entered the hall, Hekal, they dried up, as it is said: He rebukes the sea and dries it up, And He makes all rivers fail; Bashan and Carmel languish, And the blossoms of Lebanon wither (Nahum 1:4).

And the Holy One, blessed be He, will in the future restore them, as it is said: It shall blossom abundantly, It shall also exult and shout. It shall receive the glory of Lebanon, The splendor of Carmel and Sharon. They shall behold the glory of the Lord, The splendor of our God (Isaiah 35:2)."

Midrash Rabbah - Exodus 35:1:

“You shall make the planks for the Tabernacle of acacia wood, upright (Ex. 26: 15). Thus it is written: The trees of the Lord drink their fill, the cedars of Lebanon, His own planting (Psalms 104:16). The Holy One, blessed be He, created many things in His world, but the world being unworthy to have the use of them, He hid them away from the world. The example is the light created on the first day, for R. Judah b. R. Simon said: Man could see with the help of the light created on the first day from one end of the world to the other.

When God, however, foresaw the generation of Enosh and the generations of the Flood and of the Division of races who corrupted their actions, He hid it from them, as it says: Their light is withheld from the wicked, And the upraised arm is broken (Job 38: 15). For whom did He store it away?-For the righteous in the time to come, as it says: God saw that the light was good, and God separated the light from the darkness (Gen. 1:4).

What is the meaning of God saw that the light was good? He saw that its light was very good for the world and never caused harm, as does the sun (when it is too strong). Where did He store it away? In the garden of Eden [i.e. Paradise], for it says: Light is sown for the righteous, radiance for the upright (Psalms 97:11).

Many are the things which the Holy One, blessed be He, created and of which the world was undeserving to avail itself, but though they should have been hidden away, yet they were not, on account of the glory of God (Because they served as the material for His Tabernacle and Temple.).

An example of this is gold… R. Simeon b. Lakish said: The world was really unworthy to have the advantage of gold, but it was created for the sake of the Tabernacle and the Temple, as it says, The gold of that land is good with which we may compare Let me, I pray, cross over and see the good land on the other side of the Jordan, that good hill country, and the Lebanon (Deut. 3:25) … The cedars, too, should have been hidden, but were not; for R. Hanina said: The world was unworthy to avail itself of cedar trees (Gen. R. 15:1),  but they were created solely for the sake of the tabernacle and the Temple, as it says, The trees of the Lord drink their fill, the cedars of Lebanon, His own planting (Psalms 104:16)… -Because God foresaw that the tabernacle would be made of them, the place where the Shechinah (Divine Presence) would dwell.”

I suggest that all the materials for the Tabernacle came from items of the 6-days of creation that God had hidden away.  With materials from the Garden of Eden we can well understand how the work of building the Tabernacle would be easy and fast. 

They had gold from the Garden of Eden for Bezalel and other craftsmen to quickly make the ark, the Cherubs, the table of showbread, the candlestick, the altar of incense, and other items.  Surely this gold was easy to work with and far superior to gold today.

The builders of the Tabernacle had available cedars from the Garden of Eden: They made the planks for the Tabernacle of acacia wood, upright. The length of each plank was ten cubits, the width of each plank a cubit and a half. (Ex. 36:20-21). Solid wood boards of cedar lumber of today would be difficult for craftsmen in the time of Moses to work with because of the enormous weight and bulkiness of each plank. God made available acacia wood from the Garden of Eden that would be light and super strong and easy to work with.

Midrash Rabbah - Genesis XCIV:4

So Israel set out with all that was his,and he came to Beer-sheba, where he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac (Gen 46:1.). Whither had he gone? Said R. Nahman: He went to cut down the cedars which his grandfather Abraham had planted in Beer-Sheba, as it says, [Abraham] planted a tamarisk at Beer-sheba, and invoked there the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God. (Gen. 21:33).

It is written, The center bar halfway up the planks shall run from end to end Ex. 26:28). R. Levi said: "The middle bar was thirty-two cubits in length; where then did they find it just then? This, however, teaches that they [the cedars] had been stored up by them since the days of Jacob our father. Hence it is written, and everyone who had in his possession acacia wood for any work of the service brought that (Ex. 35:24): it does not say, 'With whom would be found, but, who had in his possession.'

King Solomon’s mythical trees whose fruit is gold is actually in folk-fairy tales literature of many languages.  King Solomon’s gold, so vast the quantity, came from trees from the Garden of Eden.  Moses had that gold, precious stones, cedar wood and all the material he needed for the Tabernacle from the Garden of Eden.

When we received the Torah on Mount Sinai, God made gifts to us.  He is giving gifts to us today such as the iron dome and other advances in technology, to enable us to stand up to our brazen and cruel enemies. If necessary, as Netanyahu said to US Congress, we could stand alone, with God’s help.





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