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MISPLACED PRIORITIES

by Benyamin Cohen    
Torah from Dixie Staff Writer    

While perusing this section of the Torah, it is quite interesting to note that the mitzvah to construct the mishkan (Tabernacle) came after the revelation at Mt. Sinai. The focal point of the mishkan was the Holy Ark which held the two tablets.

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While perusing this section of the Torah, it is quite interesting to note that the mitzvah to construct the mishkan (Tabernacle) came after the revelation at Mt. Sinai. The focal point of the mishkan was the Holy Ark which held the two tablets. Wouldn't it have made more sense to first prepare the place to keep the tablets and then receive them? Why wasn't the mishkan built first?

From this seemingly simple question, a powerful life-lesson emerges. When we shuffle off to the nearest Judaic gift shop, we spend so much time examining the beautiful artwork on the mezuzah cases, but how often do we spend as much time inspecting the quality of the scroll that goes within the case? All too often, we immerse ourselves in the secondary, totally forgetting the main purpose. We spend time and money purchasing an exquisite talit and tefillin bag, yet we do not show nearly as much enthusiasm for the contents therein. By placing the construction of the mishkan after the revelation at Mt. Sinai, the Torah is reminding us not to lose sight of the true purpose. The tablets and Ten Commandments engraved upon them are what's important. The Holy Ark which contains them is secondary; more time should be spent honoring the Torah then crafting the ark which holds it. The challah cover or the challah? The beautiful synagogue sanctuary or the prayers said within? We must never lose sight of our priorities to fulfill Hashem's mitzvot to our utmost capabilities.

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Benyamin Cohen, a native Atlantan and graduate of Yeshiva Atlanta, is a sophomore at Georgia State University.

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