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Fit For a King

The Book of Exodus concludes with Parashat Pekudei (Ex. 38:21–40:38) and an accounting for all the materials used to make the Mishkan. According to Seder Olam, the Mishkan was first set up on 23rd Adar, then taken down and erected for another seven days, completing the initiation on the eighth day, which fell on the 1st of Nissan, Rosh Chodesh, the same day that Nadav and Avihu, the sons of Aaron died.

The nation gave of their skills and their material wealth—as their hearts moved them— and actually built something fit for God’s presence. The result of their actions demonstrates that man is truly co-creator with HaShem. God honors the work of the His nation by filling the Tabernacle with His Presence (kavod). Because Israel followed God’s instructions, He approved their efforts by raising up the Mishkan. It is a wonderful metaphor for the resurrection: At the end, we face an accounting of how we used our talents. If we have followed His instructions (the 613 or the 7 mitzvoth), our own physical tabernacle will be raised up.

According to Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch, Moses erected and dismantled the Mishkan each day, but on the 8th day, God’s Presence (kavod) filled the Mishkan.

Rav Hirsch suggests that this foreshadows the Mishkan being moved or rebuilt eight times: first at Sinai, afterwards at Gilgal, then Shiloh, Nov, Givon, and as the Beit HaMikdash (Solomon’s Temple). Bet Sheni (2nd Temple) would be the 7th. But the 8th version of the Sanctuary will be the permanent, glittering House of the God of Jacob promised in Isaiah 2:2-4, when nations stream up to Jerusalem and learn war no more.

The future Temple won’t build itself. Some believe that we are to await the arrival of Moshiach to build the Temple yet we have an example in the construction of the First House when King David was allowed to prepare for its eventual construction by his son, King Solomon.

Desire, a giving heart and action will result in tangible evidence that Israel desires their King to dwell with His Holy Nation. We will only see His Presence when we see His Temple—a House of Prayer for all nations.

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