The parsha starts with an anouncement that the listing of the donations to the mishkan is forthcoming. The word mishkan is repeated twice. Rashi writes taht the word is written twice to hint to the two temples that were destroyed. Why doe sthe word mishkan (tabernacle) hint to the Temple? Well, the obvious reason is that the Temple ultimately replaces the Mishkan. But Rashi gives a different reason. He writes that the word mishkan is derived from the word mashkon which means a pledge, as in the sort of pledge one leaves with a pawn broker when pawning something.

The hint is therefore that the Temple (here called a mishkan) is only temporarilly in our posession and can be taken back by G-d at any time. Just as a person can redeem his pledge from the pawn broker, G-d can take away the Temple. He did this two times in fact. This seems to mean that the mishkan is G-d conditional dwelling place in the world. G-d has chosen to be among us but can also choose to leave us if we disobay His laws. The very essence of his residing among us is conditional from the start. This relates in some way to the theory that G-d chose us not because we deserved it but because we were the people most in need of laws, because we are the most stiffnecked people. So we do not deserve the Torah essentially, and holiness can be taken from us. We invest thing with holiness , they are not holy in themselves, not even teh temple.

At the end of the parsha, Moshe sets up the Mishkan and the schina enters the MIshkan in the form of a cloud pillar. The Torah states that when the Pillar is there Moshe could not enter. But when it left he could enter. Rashi also explains that when the cloud left it moved to a new location (he explains that massaot are places, i.e. the places that the cloud went to, He also explains that you might have thought that moshe could never enter since there was a cloud there, and that is why the verse needs to says both sides, that when the cloud is there moshe could not enter , but when it left, he could enter) This movement of the cloud told the people that they should pack up and start travel to where the cloud is. Whenever the cloud left, the people moved. That means that if G-d wanted to speak to Moshe, he would have to remove the cloud so that moshe could enter the Mishkan for Him to speak to him. But this also meant that the Israelites needed to start traveling. This explains why the Israelites had some many travels in the desert. G-d simply wanted to talk to Moshe 40 times, so the Israelites needed to packup 40 times. Perhaps there is some holiness in movement. Holiness is related to renewal. Case in point, the Mikveh.

© Nachum Danzig