Pekudei, the last parasha in the book of Shemot, summarizes the account of the construction of the Mishkan, or Tabernacle. The opening verse reads: "These are the accounts of the Mishkan, the Mishkan of witness."
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Rashi explains the repetition of the word Mishkan with a play on words: Mishkan meaning "Tabernacle", and mashkon, denoting a pledge given as security for a debt. He writes that the repetition alludes to the two Temples, which were "pledged", by their destruction, due to the sins of Israel.
Rabbi Zalman Sorotzkin, in his commentary to the Torah Oznayim LaTorah, explains the use of the word "pledge" in reference to the destruction of the two Temples by way of an analogy to the everyday world of commerce. When a person suffers a financial setback and finds himself unable to provide for his daily needs, he may react in various ways. A person who has no hope for improvement will sell his possessions. However, one who is hopeful about the future will pledge his possessions and take loans, because he is confident that better times lay ahead of him and that he will be able to redeem his pledges.
The history of the Jewish people includes periods of spiritual wealth, as well as periods of spiritual poverty. The latter led to Divine punishment, the loss of the Temple and exile from the land of Israel. But these losses are temporary. As stated by Rashi in Pekudei, they are pledges to be redeemed speedily in our days Amen.
Isaac Tarshansky served as a chaplain in the United States Army in 1955-57. He has lived in Israel since 1971 and worked as an engineer until retirement.