The Divrei Torah in this section have been translated by Rav Reuven Ungar, Director of Alumni Affairs
Eternal Lessons of the Mishkan
By: Rav Yechezkel Yakovson
The tabernacle (Mishkan), as opposed to the Beit Mikdash, was a structure of temporary nature. Form the onset, the Mishkan was destined to be dismantled and re-attached. The poles, beams and curtains were constructed with this in mind.
Hashem decreed that the Levites were entrusted with the task of dismantling and reconstructing the Mishkan. In Sefer BaMidbar the Torah delineates the process of relocating the Mishkan, which was executed via the Levites. As Rashi comments: “Once the flag of the camp of Yehudah traveled, Aharon and his sons entered and removed the curtain, they covered the Aron, the sons of Gershon and sons of Merari dismantled the Mishkan and placed (many parts of) it on wagons. The Aron and the holy utensils were carried by the sons of Kehat; they were placed on poles and would wait until the flag of the camp of Reuven traveled. Afterwards the Kehatim would travel, in the meantime, the sons of Gershon and the sons of Merari had raised the Mishkan in the location where the cloud of glory had rested…when the children of Kehat arrived they found the Mishkan built and they brought the Aron, table and alters inside” (BaMidbar, 10: 17-21).
The Levites were obligated to raise the Mishkan in a manner that enabled the tribes to quickly settle around it. A situation should not elapse that the Jewish People will reside without the Mishkan. We must apply this message in our own lives. Some individuals necessitate an appropriate environment in order to completely observe the Torah and Mitzvoth. They are fine in the atmosphere of yeshivot, synagogues and communities that adhere to the Torah and behave with sanctity. However, they are lost in locations that are distant from allegiance to the Torah. Unless they quickly build a “Mishkan”, they spiritually stumble and fall.
The Levites instruct us that wherever we are located we must immediately surround ourselves with a spiritual environment. This message is especially pertinent to our students in Tzahal. Wherever they arrive, the first order of business should be the construction of a synagogue, an eiruv, facilitating the proper standards of the kitchen etc’. Our neighbors in Kibbutz Sha’alvim provide us with a wonderful example. In the early days of the kibbutz, the members slept in tents; the first permanent structure was the mikveh.
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