MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN
This week's Torah reading joins two Torah portions, Vayakhel and Pekudei, which dwell heavily on the topic of the Mishkan, the mobile Tabernacle that traveled with the Jewish nation throughout their time in the desert.
This week's Torah reading joins two Torah portions, Vayakhel and Pekudei, which dwell heavily on the topic of the Mishkan, the mobile Tabernacle that traveled with the Jewish nation throughout their time in the desert. We find that the command to make the Mishkan was in order to provide a physical place for Hashem's presence to dwell amongst the Children of Israel (Exodus 25:8). However, at the beginning of Parshat Pekudei, the Mishkan is referred to as a "Mishkan Eidut - Tabernacle of Testimony". Rashi, the fundamental commentator on the Torah, explains that the Mishkan was meant to testify to the Jewish people that Hashem had forgiven them for the sin of the golden calf. As such, the Mishkan was representative of Hashem's forgiveness and acceptance of the Jews' repentance.
The sin of the golden calf occurred while the Jewish people were still at Mt. Sinai after receiving the Torah. The commentators explain that the event of receiving the Torah was the consummation of marriage between Hashem and the Jewish nation. The mystical sources describe that the Mishkan was, in effect, the chupah (marriage canopy) where Hashem and the Jewish nation began their life together. The chupah in which this relationship began was built on the foundation of forgiveness and peace. The Mishkan represented Hashem's forgiveness which made this special place a haven to repair damaged relationships between Hashem and the Jewish people. This home, which was shared by husband and wife - Hashem and the Jewish people - was the central location for achieving a meaningful relationship built on forgiveness, intimacy, and peace.
The balance between strict justice and loving forgiveness within the Mishkan was rooted in the tribes of its two chief architects. Betzalel was from the tribe of Judah, who represents a nature of forgiveness, because Hashem's name of mercy is found within the tribe's name. Oholiav, the second main architect, contributed the aspect of strict justice, because he came from the tribe of Dan. The dimension of justice is represented within the tribe name "Dan" because those same Hebrew letters make up the word "din" meaning judgment.
It was this consistent harmony between strict judgment and loving forgiveness which enabled the relationship between husband and wife - Hashem and the Jewish nation - to thrive. This precedent establishes the model for every Jewish home. A Jewish home must be built on the principles of understanding and forgiveness in order to achieve the greatest intimacy within our family relationships. May the Mishkan represent the ideal home for every Jewish family in the people of Israel.
Rabbi Danny Gimpel, a native Atlantan and student at the Ner Israel Rabbinical College, will be married to Avigail Perlman of Far Rockaway next week.
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