Pikudei- The Mishkan and the glory of G-d

R’ Eli Munk wrote that Bezalel was endowed with “Ruach Hakodesh”- prophetic vision. This enabled him to move from the spiritual to the material and use earthly materials to build the Mishkan.  Oholiab was not a prophet but a skilled craftsman and the two of them accomplished all that G-d commanded.


Moshe saw that the Mishkan had been perfectly constructed. He realised that the work had been performed solely to fulfil G-d’s command.  Although it was richly constructed, Moshe saw that no feelings of personal vanity or national prestige had intervened, and it was then that Moshe considered the people worthy of his blessing.  R’ Munk made the link between the number of times the phrase “as G-d commanded Moshe” (18) as the origin of the 18 blessings in the Amidah, the Shmoneh Esreh prayer. R’ Munk wrote that in an ideal situation, man is worthy of blessing when he serves G-d faithfully in a spirit of unreserved devotion, and with a complete lack of selfish self-interest.  Moshe blessed them seeing that they had fulfilled G-d’s will with precision, and for R’ Munk, this was “obedience in freedom and freedom in obedience”. His hope was that this attitude continue among the people for eternity, and the Shechina would rest on their handiwork.


When the Mishkan was erected, the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of G-d filled the Tabernacle.  R’ Munk wrote that the expression “glory of G-d” refers to the sacred light created by G-d when His glory rests on a designated place and makes His presence known. He quoted from Abarbanel who stated that the Divine glory was created on the first day of ceation and withdrawn after the six days of creation. Moshe could not enter when the glory of G-d filled the Tabernacle.


This parasha and the book of Shemot ends with the sentence “the cloud of G-d would be on the Tabernacle by day, and fire would be on it by night, before the eyes of all of the House of Israel throughout their journeys”.  R’ Munk commented that all the people of Israel, could see the Divine cloud, men and women, young and old alike. He wrote that a vision such as this implied a degree of knowledge beyond simple belief. The Israelites had at last attained a level of maturity where their faith in G-d had grown into a knowledge supported by what they saw with their own eyes. The sight of the Divine had become very real to them. The Children of Israel had attained the spiritual level of their forefathers through the revelation at Sinai and their experience of the Tabernacle which followed it. 


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