Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Building of the Mishkan – Draft

Question: Why does the Torah give such detailed descriptions of the building of the mishkan? It was a one-time event that does not seem to be so relevant to future generations. Are there any fundamental lesson or practical laws that can be learned from it?
Answer: Actually, the largest area of Halacha, the Laws of Shabbos, are learned from the building of the Mishkan. The Torah’s descriptions of the different fundamental acts necessary for its construction help teach the fundamental 39 melachos that are forbidden on Shabbos. We rest from the 39 melachos on Shabbos to remember God’s resting from Creating the world. The melachos are 39 fundemental physical acts of creation that symbolize God’s act of creating the world and were therefore used to create the mishkan. Just as God created the world, we were given the ability to create God’s sanctuary in this world. The fact that God granted us the ability to bring holiness into this world can be considered greater than the act of creation of heaven and earth:
דרש בר קפרא: גדולים מעשה צדיקים יותר ממעשה שמים וארץ, דאילו במעשה שמים וארץ – כתיב: +ישעיהו מ”ח+ אף ידי יסדה ארץ וימיני טפחה שמים, ואילו במעשה ידיהם של צדיקים – כתיב: +שמות ט”ו+ מכון לשבתך פעלת ה’ מקדש אדני כוננו ידיך. [תלמוד בבלי מסכת כתובות דף ה עמוד א]
The detailed description of the building of the mishkan teaches more than the fundementals of Hilchos Shabbos. It teaches us the about the purpose of creation, about creating holiness in this world. Nowadays, we no longer have a Mishkan or a Mikdash, but by learning the Torah’s description of the Mishkan, we are able to connect with the sanctity of the mishkan and with the fundamental lessons it teaches.
אלו תלמידי חכמים העסוקין בהלכות עבודה, מעלה עליהם הכתוב כאילו נבנה מקדש בימיהם.. [תלמוד בבלי מסכת מנחות דף קי עמוד א] א

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