Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mishkan construction: in depth

Before Bnai Israel built the Mishkan, Hashem commanded that the aron- ark- be build first. The aron- ark- symbolizes Torah wisdom and the Talmud chacham- Torah scholar.  Since the Torah was created before the Creation of the universe, Hashem commanded that the aron be created first, essentially portraying that the universe stands on the Torah first and foremost.           
Hashem gave elaborate orders on how the aron should be built. The aron was to be built with three chests, the innermost chest made of gold, the second chest made of wood, and the outer most chest made of gold. The aron was covered with gold inside and out.
The outer most chest had a decorative golden rim which covered the aron like a crown. The aron symbolized the Torah and the golden rims symbolized the Crown of Torah study.
The three ‘Crowns’ Hashem presents Bnai Israel with symbolize different positions of greatness:
1.     The Crown of Torah (aron-ark)
2.     The Crown of Kehuna- priesthood (mizbayach- alter)
3.     The Crown of Malchus- monarchy (shulchan- table)
One could only attain the Crown of Kehuna or Malchus by having priestly or royal lineage. However, any person could attain the Crown of Torah, which was the highest rank of all three. Every Jew is given the opportunity to become a great Torah scholar. When Hashem commanded the construction of the aron- ark- He said, “And they shall make it.” By using the plural they Hashem is making a point to say that all of the Jewish people have a share in the Crown of Torah. However, when Hashem commands for the menorah-candelabra- and shulchan-table- to be built, He says, “And you shall make them,” implying the singular you, since those duties are restricted to the kehuna- priesthood.
From this we can see how every Jew has a specialized role in Jewish society. Not every Jew is meant to be a priest or a monarch; however, every Jew does have the capability to become a great scholar. The implications behind this idea are grand indeed. Each person has the potential to unlock the secrets and the wisdom of the Torah. One should not be get discouraged that just because he does not have the lineage of a scholar he cannot become great. . He should recognize that the doors to Torah learning are always open to him, as long as he makes room for it in his heart and soul. In Judaism, it doesn’t matter where you have come from, a religious or irreligious family, if you are rich or poor, healthy or sick, holding status or not, etc. all that matters is where you are going.

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