By: Rabbi Moshe Goodman, Kollel Ohr Shlomo, Hebron
Inviting the Holy Presence in Our Holy Land
These are the Numbers of the Mishkan
The numbers of gold, silver and copper donated to the mishkan mentioned in the beginning of this parsha easily brings us to draw a connection between the numbers of Israel also enumerated in the Torah at length. In addition, both the enumeration of Israel and the description of the materials/building of the Mishkan are mentioned numerous times. Just as our Sages explain the multiple enumerations of Israel as being due to Hashem’s love of Israel, so too we may say that the multiple descriptions of the Mishkan in the Torah are due to Hashem’s love of the Temple/Mishkan.
A matter that sheds light on these seemingly repetitious descriptions is yet another seemingly repetitious narrative told in the Torah in context of Avraham’s servant’s search for a wife for Yitzhak – Rivka. This narrative is definitely the longest section in the Torah that deals with marriage. Marriage, by definition, is the enjoinment of a couple to become one family. Ideally, this means that the couple become “two sides” or “double-descriptions” of the same essence. Interestingly, this concept is exactly the same concept as “the double-description” of marriage in this narrative in the Torah. Even more fascinating is the fact that this narrative is juxtaposed to the purchase of Maarat Hamachpela, which itself connotes a “double/coupled-cave” which houses the tombs of “couples” – our Patriarchs and Matriarchs. Also, the name Hebron which contains Maarat Hamachpela also connotes the unity of these couples, as Hebron means unity.
Based on these sources we may say that the seemingly repetitious descriptions of the same matter, whether in regard to Israel or the Mishkan, represent the multi-faceted aspects of the same essence, “couple,” or “family (if there be more than two repetitions),” relating to each other in “masculine” versus “feminine” descriptions. For example, in regard to the Mishkan the more theoretical/”command-based” description of the Mishkan, in parshiot Teruma-Ki Tisa pertains more to the “masculine” aspect, since men are commanded to study Torah regardless of its practical usage. Then, parshiot Vayakhel-Pekudei pertain to the more “feminine” aspect of the Mishkan involved more with practicality.
The fact that both in regard to Israel and the Mishkan there are multiple descriptions also draws parallels between these two. In the past we have shown, according to Hulin 92 and more, how the Temple/Mishkan also corresponds to the entirety of the Holy Land, Land of the Holy Presence. We have also shown, based on Tanach, halacha, and more how the relationship between Israel and the Holy Land is like that of husband and wife. Therefore, we may say that also between Israel and the Mishkan which both have these “coupled” descriptions, there is also a relationship as that of husband and wife. Of course, Hebron and Maarat Hamchpela stand as symbols of this connection, for this is Hebron, the roots of our People to the Holy Land, home of our “coupled” Patriarchs and Matriarchs.
Real Stories from the Holy Land #305
“It used to be that the Arabs did not even allow Jews to enter the road leading to Maarat Hamachpela, till the following incident: Once, a lad, the son of one of the Arab rulers, saw one Jew praying by the wall of Maarat Hamachpela. Seeing this, the lad shouted to summon the officials. So frightened, the Jew left his tehilim in one of the crevices of the cave and ran for his life. Seeing this, the lad went to the crevice to take the book of tehilim. He placed his hand in the crevice but could not find the book. However, when he wanted to take his hand out he couldn’t, since his hand had been caught between the large boulders in the crevice and had been broken. Therefore, the lad shouted out in pain and called for people to help him, but no one could remove his hand from the crevice. The Arab ruler called for the rabbi of the Jewish community of Hebron and asked him to remove his son’s hand from the crevice, and so he did successfully. Nevertheless, the lad became very sick, both because of his broken hand and also due to his belief that one of the Patriarchs had grabbed his hand, so the rabbi was summoned again to pray for his wellbeing. So the rabbi did, and the lad was cured. From then on, the ban on Jews to reach Maarat Hamachpela was released, even though Jews were not allowed inside the building (till liberation in the Six Day War).”
Source: Sefer Hebron p. 320
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