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Pekudei 5782 ~ March 4, 2022

Here is an interesting thought from the Midrash this week.  As the Mishkan, the Tabernacle in the Wilderness, was completed, a magnificent ceremony was planned and held.  For seven days, as the celebrations took place, the Mishkan was considered a temporary structure. According to the Midrash, Moshe literally deconstructed the Tent of Meeting each night and reconstructed it once again each morning. Only on the eighth day of consecration was the Mishkan considered permanent, and Moshe then left it standing for as long as the Children of Israel remained in one location in the wilderness.

For those of us who have ever spent time on trips in the wilderness and have put up and taken down tents, we might think that Moshe was simply meshugah. I wonder if he might have remembered each piece, where it fit into the construction, and whether he followed a detailed plan every time he deconstructed the Mishkan as to where to store each hook, each pole, etc. Needless to say, there were specific instructions on how he was to assemble it, as though it was a piece of furniture that was purchased at IKEA. Was there sometimes an extra screw that he could not find where it might go? But nowhere is there a manual in the Torah for its deconstruction each night. Yet throughout that period of time, Moshe painstakingly disassembled the tent. Hopefully, Moshe had a system in place as to where to store each piece.

If you were an Israelite watching Moshe, you might have witnessed the kedushah, the respect for the sanctity that Moshe gave to each piece that made up the Tabernacle. For that reason, only Moshe could be involved in this task. Not even his brother, Aaron, since he had yet to be anointed as the Kohen Hagadol, the High Priest. 

One might have also recognized that permanence is a blessing; yet, at the same time, the transience of the Tent of Meeting was not to be thought of in a demeaning fashion, but admired and revered. Needless to say, even the Tent of Meeting was simply that until King Solomon’s Temple was built in Jerusalem -- a temporary home with some degree of permanence.  The Mishkan was placed in the middle of the encampment and was given the same level of kedushah, holiness, as was the Beit Hamikdash, the Temple in Jerusalem, despite it being temporary.  

Perhaps the lesson might be as simple as permanence is a yearning and a goal worth attaining. But in the meantime, revering the temporary must also be reflected with a sense of kedushah, with a hope for permanence.

Sat, June 25 2022 26 Sivan 5782