weekly Torah reading: parashas Vayakhel-Pekudei 5783
“And He hath filled him with the spirit of G-d, in wisdom, in understanding, and in all manner of workmanship.” – Exodus 35:31 JPS, 1917 Tanach
Moshe assembled B’nei Yisrael, reiterating what H’Shem had commanded to him, while on Mount Sinai, to speak to them that they bring an offering – willingly from the heart – to contribute materials to build the Mishkan (Tabernacle). Bezalel is chosen by H’Shem to oversee the entire project, that would amount to a great artistic endeavor; moreover, Bezalel is endowed by H’Shem with the Spirit of G-d (Ruach Elokim), in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge” (Exodus 35:31).
The Talmud notes, in Berachos 55a, that these same qualities were used by H’Shem to create the Heavens and Earth, as is found in Mishlei (Proverbs 3:19-20). This insightful comparison points towards the idea that the Mishkan (Tabernacle) itself is a reflection of Heaven on Earth.
Inasmuch that H’Shem’s Presence (the Shechinah) dwelt in the Mishkan between the two golden Cherubim on the cover of the Ark of the Covenant, from where H’Shem spoke to Moshe, the Mishkan encapsulated a smaller rendering of H’Shem’s Glory in Shomayim (Heaven), where, according to the vision of the prophet Ezekiel (see Ezekiel 10:1), H’Shem is surrounded by Cherubim.
In consideration of the designation of the Mishkan as a place where the Shechinah would dwell, it is all the more understandable why its master craftsman was endowed with the same qualities that H’Shem used to create the Heavens and Earth: a microcosm of the whole (according to Akeidut Yitzchak), the Mishkan required more than artistic capabilities; rather, it called for divine intuition, in regard to making patterns found in the Heavenly Realm.
Incidentally, that may be the reason that the most-used color of various components of the Mishkan was techiles (a specific hue of blue), denoting a similarity to “the sea that resembles Heaven; and, Heaven resembles the Throne of Glory,” as mentioned in the Talmud, tractate Menachos 43a, based on Exodus 1:24, and Ezekiel 1:26.
“The L-RD by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding He established the heavens. By His knowledge the depths were broken up, and the skies drop down the dew.” – Proverbs 3:19-20, JPS 1917 Tanach
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