Vayakhel-Pekudei: A Holy Conduit

Getting our inner Mishkan ready to receive.

Rabbanit Shira Smiles,

Young women study Torah
Young women study Torah
Flash 90

As summarized by Channie Koplowitz Stein.

These are the last two of four parshiot devoted to the construction of the Mishkan, the Tabernacle in the desert, which would act as the precursor of the Holy Temple to be built generations later in Eretz Yisroel.
His purpose in creating the World was to have an abode among men on Earth.

There seems to be a reversal in the order of construction between what Moshe instructed Bezalel, the major contractor, and how Bezalel actually did the work. Moshe put the construction of the implements to be used in the Mishkan first, while Bezalel understood that the structure in which these implements would be used should be built first and made ready to receive the implements.

These two approaches to the construction of the Mishkan represent the two intertwined functions the Mishkan was to serve. Spirituality flows in two directions. It flows from its Source in Heaven down to Earth. But it also flows upward from Earth toward Heaven if humankind acts appropriately.

While HaShem always had, has, and will continue to have, an abode in Heaven, His purpose in creating the World was to have an abode among men on Earth. Prior to the sin of Adam and Chava, HaShem's presence filled the whole World. His Presence was palpable. After the sin, HaShem removed this palpable Spirit from Earth to Heaven. Man could no longer access his relationship with his Creator as readily.

With our acceptance of the Torah at Sinai, we recreated the pristine world of creation. We sensed HaShem's presence not just in the manna, but also in every atom of our being and in the World. However, this ideal situation did not last long. We sinned with the golden calf, and the connection that was meant to be intrinsic and omnipresent throughout the world was severed.

This is why the importance of the Mishkan became so primary. Since the entire World could no longer be a vehicle to openly contain His Presence, HaShem, in His lovingkindness, created a place where we could come, rejuvenate and again become the spiritual beings we were meant to be. We needed a place that would exude God's Presence, where we could feel His lovingkindness warming us from above, and rededicate our lives to reaching up from below to spiritual heights. This would be our "window of opportunity," along with Shabbos and Yom Tov, to forge our relationship with HaKadosh Boruch Hu. The other places on Earth and the other days of the year offered us just small cracks in the walls of separation for us to try to recreate that bond.

We are physical beings living in a physical world. Therefore, we must concretize our abstract feelings and our spirituality with action. When our beings were consciously and subconsciously filled with knowledge of God's Presence, our service to Him could take place anywhere; all we needed were the tools. When we lost this sense, we needed to first energize ourselves through the proper environment so that we could serve HaShem with proper intent. This was Bezalel's argument to Moshe.

On the spiritual plane of his existence, Moshe didn't need a specific place to stir his spirit; he was indeed ready at any time, in any place, to do HaShem's bidding. The rest of us are not on that level. Moshe acknowledged this characteristic of humanity and of our nation, and agreed that the Mishkan itself should be built before the implements for the service within.

We also need to acknowledge our humanness. We need to prepare ourselves properly to serve HaShem. Let us
We also need to acknowledge our humanness.
not "fall into" prayer or saying our blessings by rote, but rather let us focus, or meditate, on the service we are about to do, so that we can strengthen our relationship with HaKodosh Boruch Hu. Let us create our inner Mishkan to the service of HaShem, for HaShem wishes to dwell within mankind.

God created a world of curves and circles. God gave man the ability to create lines and angles. A body in motion will stay in the same path unless a force is exerted to change its path (my apologies to Newton). We will stay in the same circular path and get nowhere unless we consciously and willfully decide that what starts in our heart, with a passion for a relationship with the Creator, extends upward to our head, and then continues in a straight line directly to HaKodosh Boruch Hu. It is these actions that have an impact not only on ourselves and the World as it exists today, but, indeed, for generations to come ad infinitum.