ועשו לי מקדש ושכנתי בתוכם )שמות כ"ה ח(
ככל אשר אני מראה אותך את תבנית המשכן ואת תבנית כל כליו וכן תעשו
ושכנתי בתוך בני ישראל ולא אעזב את עמי ישראל )מלכים א ו י"ג(
ככל אשר אני מראה אותך את תבנית המשכן ואת תבנית כל כליו וכן תעשו )שמות
ועשית קרסי נחשת חמשים והבאת את הקרסים בללאת וחברת את האהל והיה
אחד )שמות כ"ו י"א(
This week we're going to discuss the Mishkan.
We begin with the word mikdash and then go on to say תבנית המשכן – is it mikdash or Mishkan?
We know that the one we used in the desert was designated to be called Mishkan, and the one in Yerushalayim was called the Beis Hamikdash. So what is the difference between mikdash and mishkan?
The mefarshim explain that the mikdash has a set place, like a house, whereas the mishkan is moveable. Mikdash is more like a noun and Mishkan more like a verb.
The Ramban says in the hakadama to Sefer Shemos that sefer shemos is about geula. Therefore, the mishkan is discussed in Shemos because Klal Yisrael was not considered redeemed until after the mishkan, because geula only came once they returned to the ways of the Avos and Hashem came to dwell on their tents. We see this when Yitzchak brought Rivka to his tent, and the miracles of the clouds and bread came back, and in the Beis Hamikdash.
Why is that called redeemed? Perhaps the Ramban is saying that the galus carried Klal Yisrael away from the ways of the Avos, and so until they return to those ways, it's still galus. However, it's a little deeper than that – oholehem doesn't only mean tents, it means living. Veshachanti besochom doesn't only mean among them; it means in them.
An explanation on the difference between mishkan and mikdash: The Mizrachi says at the beginning of Parashas Ha’azinu that in the Beis Hamikdash it was permitted to say the shem hameforash. The Be’er Mayim Chaim brings down that that's the pshat of 'li leshmi', which is not because it's lishma, but because only there may Hashem's Name be said. So the Mizrachi explains that whenever Moshe Rabbeinu taught Torah he used the shem hameforash, because Hashem was resting on Klal Yisrael. It was like the entire Klal Yisrael turned into a mishkan. Mishkan is not unique to its location like the Beis Hamikdash is, but rather dependent on Klal Yisrael and Hashem’s presence.
Another explanation: The Beis Hamikdash got destroyed twice, but the mishkan never got destroyed, and the Gemara says it's because anything that Moshe Rabbeinu built couldn't be destroyed (which was also why he couldn't go to Eretz Yisrael and build the Beis Hamikdash there so Klal Yisrael would have had to be destroyed for their aveiros instead). Other midrashim say it's got to do with Yaakov Avinu's atzei shitim which were planted lishma.
Another explanation: The concept of veshachanti besochom can never be destroyed. The mishkan rests on Klal Yisrael, so although it can be buried or lost it can't be destroyed in the same way that the Beis Hamikdash, the house, can. In the last pasuk of the haftara we see this – veshachanti velo ezov.
At the beginning of the parasha there’s an interesting Medrash – ויקחו לי תרומה is translated as ‘take me’, instead of the pashut pshat ‘to me’. There’s a mashal of a king with one daughter. One day, a knight came and married her and prepared to take her away, but the king didn’t want to lose her. So he told them, wherever they go, they should leave a little closet for him.
The mefarshim explain that this mashal is referring to galus. The daughter has already been taken far away, but Hashem still wants to be connected to us. The closet can be understood to be a beis knesset. It can also be understood as a chamber in each person’s heart. Also the princess is not in Eretz Yisrael anymore, not near the Beis Hamikdash, the King wants her to take Him with her where she’s going.
The pillars in the mishkan were made from atzei shitim standing. Standing can mean that each thing has to be done in the way it was created, so the atzei shitim were standing vertically, like they grow. A second pshat (סוכה נ"ב) says it means that the gold cover needed to be attached to the wood. A third pshat says it means that Klal Yisrael was worried about how long the mishkan would last and losing hope, but with this they were told it would last forever. The Belzer Rebbe asks, why were they afraid of losing the mishkan right when it was being created, when there would be another mishkan after it, and a Beis Hamikdash after that? Because what the mishkan in the midbar stood for we didn’t even have in the Beis Hamikdash – in some ways, the mishkan stood for even more love of Klal Yisrael than the Beis Hamikdash, and here Klal Yisrael were being reassured that this would last forever.
There’s a pasuk in Yechezkel where Rashi explains מדבר עמים as a midbar of all the nations, because it’s no-mans-land. The Gemara brings down that there is tuma in what belongs to the nations – so even though there was tuma in the midbar, Hashem still brought His presence there.
When the Kotzker Rebbe was a young boy, he was asked, 'Where is Hashem?' He answered, 'Wherever you let Him in.' In the same way, the mishkan was wherever it was put up, which shows tremendous dvekus with Hashem, when comparing it to a king who never knows where his palace will be tomorrow. Therefore, when Klal Yisrael were worried that they wouldn't have this instantaneous unconditional connection with Hashem, He promised that it would stand forever. Although sometimes it might be buried deep and we have to revive it, it’s always there.
Rav Moshe Feinstein explains that Shabbos takes precedence over binyan hamikdash. The reason for that is that we have survived without a Beis Hamikdash, but Shabbos is the time a Jew reconnects with Hashem. We don’t need the home, we need Hashem. It’s like the mashal of a couple where the husband keeps showering the wife with cars and houses and money, but the wife only wants him, not the things. The Shach said, if doing the Egel gave us a mishkan, what would something good bring us?
The mefarshim ask what וכן תעשו means. Rashi explains that it means replacing any keili that may have gotten lost over the year. The Chasam Sofer says the reason there is an extra ו is because just building the mishkan is not enough, a yid has to live it. It’s not enough to simply come to shul and give money – one has to live with all the details. It’s about how to live with Hashem, not only about building a house for Him.
The yesod of the mishkan was achdus, because hashra’as hashechina needs achdus. והיה אחד – by putting it together, it turns into one. The Chasam Sofer explains that the mishkan couldn’t stand because the measurements weren’t enough to hold up its weight, but they didn’t put up extra support because it was a remez that when Klal Yisrael unites, like they put the mishkan together, they don’t need anything extra to hold them up.
The Chasam Sofer says that when a Jew connects to Hashem, they unite to such an extent that Hashem does everything with him and his capabilities become enormous. Since Hashem was the architect of the mishkan, how was it possible for any human to build it? Betzalel’s greatness was his understanding of how to create the keilim. So the way Klal Yisrael was able to do it was by uniting and bringing the Shechina to rest on them, thereby getting the ability to do it from Hashem.
Sometimes you see people who accomplish so much, it’s incredible that a human being can get so much done. The answer is that when a Jew is connected to Hashem, Hashem helps him.
The Zohar writes in the beginning of Parashas Terumah that Klal Yisrael and Hashem connects as one. The Bnei Yissaschar explains that the Zohar is answering a question: why didn’t the pasuk say ויתנו instead of ויקחו? The answer is that Klal Yisrael and Hashem connect so much, ויתנו and ויקחו become the same thing. ויקחו לי לשמ י – there are many explanations of why the emphasis here is on לשמי, but here a pshat is that when a Jew does something for Hashem, לשמה, Hashem comes and helps him.