Shiloh- Synagogue modelled after Mishkanb
Shiloh- Synagogue modelled after MishkanbZichron Mishkan Shiloh

Our Parasha opens with Hashem saying to Moshe:(25:1-9)’Speak to Bnei Israel and let them take for Me a תרומה: a portion, from every man whose heart motivates him you shall take My, silver; They shall make a משכן: a Sanctuary for Me-so that I may dwell בתוכם: among them- like everything that I shall show you.. so shall you do’.

The Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh comments:”It says ‘and I shall dwell בתוכם: among them’, and not בתוכו: ‘in it’, to say that the place in which the Sanctuary should be erected, should be in the midst of the people, surrounded by the four flags.

“This perhaps to fulfill the yearning of Bnei Israel, to merit that which they saw at Har Sinai: Hashem ‘surrounded’ by the four camps of the Angels.

“Hashem, who knows what is in the hearts of men, responded: erect ‘A Sanctuary for Me, so that I may dwell, among them’”.

The Ramban adds:”The redemption from the Galut in Egypt was not completed until Bnei Israel returned to מעלת אבותם: the level of their Forefathers, as had occurred at Har Sinai-when they erected a Sanctuary, in which the Shechina resided, as it had on the Forefathers.

“Only then, were they truly redeemed”.

The Chasidic Master, the Toldot Yaakov Yosef, asks:”Our Sages teach that the concluding words of our psukim:כן תעשו: ’so shall you do’, means that this is a Mitzvah for all generations.

“How can this be fulfilled? Literally read, it cannot even be fulfilled by a generation which merits to have a Beit Hamikdash, as the Sanctuary is already built!

“The Mitzvah can only be fulfilled by the generation that actually builds the Sanctuary- and by no other generation!

“What, then, do our Sages mean when they say that it is a Mitzvah ‘for all generations’?”

Answers the Rav:”The Mitzvah is that each person is to make Me a Sanctuary בתוכם: within himself, for the Shechina to reside therein.

“This is why the Torah says: בתוכם:’within them’, and not בתוכו: ‘in it’- in the building that you erect.

“THIS is a Mitzvah ‘for all generations’”.

The Netivot Shalom adds:”This is the objective of Creation: That every Jew should himself be a Sanctuary, in which the Shechina resides.

“Indeed, Onkelos translates the passuk: זה אלי ואנוהו:’This is my G-d and I shall make a נווה: a place for Him: I will build a Sanctuary for Him.

“This is the task of a Jew: To make himself a ‘Sanctuary’ in which the Shechina can reside, by sanctifying himself; and this is why the Torah, in so many places, commands us: קדושים תהיו: ‘You shall be sanctified’”.

Rav Chaim miChernowitz expounds:”The Torah says ‘and I shall dwell בתוכם: in you’, and not בתוכו:’in it’, in the Sanctuary you shall build, to teach that initially Hashem has to dwell within you, in your inner hearts, as only then will you merit that He shall dwell in the Sanctuary that you build”.

The Alshich Hakadosh sweetens this teaching, by commenting:”It is clear from our Psukim, that, by saying ‘in them’- instead of ‘in it’- the primary place for the Shechina to reside is in the people, and not in the Sanctuary they are to build.

“However, from our Parasha, it is equally clear that the Schechina DID reside in the Sanctuary, as it says: (25:22)’And I shall speak to you from atop the cover’, and (40:34)’And the glory of Hashem filled the Sanctuary, Moshe could not enter’ it.

“How are we to reconcile these two teachings ? The answer is in the words of the Prophet:(Yirmiyahu 7:4):’The Sanctuary of Hashem, the Sanctuary of Hashem, the Sanctuary of Hashem are they!’.

“When the people are worthy that the Shechina should reside within them, from there its influence will descend and spread, to the Sanctuary they build, because it was for their sake that Hashem commanded the building of the Sanctuary.

“Their souls are the true Sanctuary in which Hashem wishes to reside, and from there it will spread to the external Sanctuary”.

Rav Chaim miVolozhin, in Nefesh HaChayim, similary expounds that, by saying בתוכם: ‘in them’, and not בתוכו: ‘in it’, the Torah comes to teach, that the Shechina should dwell in each of us.

“Hashem said to Moshe: Don’t think that the object of my commandment is the erection of the external edifice! Rather, My intention in showing you the form of the Sanctuary and its utensils, is to teach you how you are to ‘make’ yourselves, in your conduct, so that you are worthy that the Shechina should reside in you, to be sanctified, and not defiled”.

The Kli Yakar, teaches us the allusions from the main utensils in the Sanctuary, for us to merit that we are worthy of the Shechina residing in us:”The measurements of the Aron, in which the Torah is placed, are all incomplete numbers; the measurements of the Table, on the other hand, are partially whole numbers and partially incomplete numbers.

“The Aron is the symbol of spiritual values, the peak of which is our holy Torah. Whatever spiritual level one may have attained, he should always aspire to greater heights, recognizing that he is never complete in this crucial realm.

“The Table, on the other hand, represents the material realm. In this, one should always see himself as complete, and be content with that with which Hashem has blessed him- hence the complete measurements.

“Why, then, are some of the measurements of the Table- its height - incomplete numbers? To warn us that, should we be tempted to seek more, we will never be satisfied - or ‘complete’ - as ‘one who has one hundred, wants two hundred’”.

A beautiful parting insight from Rav Shlomo Kluger:”The ‘main’ residence of the Shechina was intended to be Bnei Israel themselves, as the prophet proclaims:’The Sanctuary of Hashem, the Sanctuary of Hashem, the Sanctuary of Hashem, are they’.

“The commandment to build the Mishkan was to let Bnei Israel know this wondrous gift, that the Shechina resided in them, as this was not evident for them to see or recognize.

“However, that it resided in the Mishkan, was evident for all to see, as they saw the fire descend from Above, and consume their offerings.

“From this they were able to learn קל וחומר: a fortiore, that since the Shechina resided in that which they constructed with their hands, how much more must it reside in them- בתוכם: in themselves!”.

לרפואת נועם עליזה בת זהבה רבקה ונחום אלימלך רפאל בן זהבה רבקה, בתוך שאר חולי עמנו.