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The Sanctuary needed to be built like this world, which corresponds to the body of man.

Shabbat and the Worlds

Shabbat and the Worlds

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Shabbat and the Worlds
The Sanctuary needed to be built like this world, which corresponds to the body of man.

And Moses assembled the entire nation of the Children of Israel, and said to them, "For six days you will work, and on the seventh day, it will be for you Holy." (Ex. 35:1-2)

We need to understand what the connection is between the building of the Mishkan, the subject matter of nearly the entire parasha, to the keeping of Shabbat, its opening verses?

The main goal of the building of the Mishkan is to prepare a place in this world for the dwelling of the Shechinah.

The main goal of the building of the Mishkan is to prepare a place in this world for the dwelling of the Shechinah, as written in Parashat Terumah, "And make for Me a Holy Place, and I will dwell within it". (Ex. 25:8) Therefore, the Mishkan was composed from inanimate, vegetable, and animal products. The materials from the inanimate were the ground upon which it stood, and the vessels of gold, silver, and copper. From the vegetative were its boards and stakes. From the animal were the curtains of goatskin and Tachash (multicolored skins of a special animal), which were made to cover it.

All of these materials came to be part of the Mishkan in order to elevate to Holiness the material of this world, to ready it as a vessel for the dwelling of the Shechinah, which will descend from "above to below". This is opposed to Shabbat, as the ascent of the worlds on Shabbat is from "below to above".

On that day there is an ascent of the worlds, and even here in this world it is like "the world to come"; therefore, in this material world, work is then forbidden. All types of work which were performed for the Mishkan are forbidden on Shabbat, since the role of weekday work is to bring down Holiness to this material world. But, on Shabbat, there is no need for work and repair since the material world ascends to the spiritual worlds.

The Mishkan needed to be built like this world, which resembles the body of man. The brain corresponds to the Ark in the Holy of Holies, the Menorah and the Shulchan (Table) correspond to the heart and the lungs. The rest of the vessels correspond to the lower parts of the body. The Mishkan atoned for the sin of the golden calf, when they fashioned a material object and said it was Divine. The repair of this sin is to show that even though Holiness descends to the material, nevertheless Shabbat proves that Holiness is loftier than it. G‑d forbid for one to equate the material with the Holy!

The Mishkan was made from the tithes of all of Israel, so they all had a share in it, as is written in Parashat Teruma, "Take from yourselves tithes." This is similar to what is written in this week's parasha, "And Moses assembled [the people]," that through unity, the separation caused by the sin of the golden calf was repaired.

Through national unity we will merit the complete deliverance, speedily in our days, Amen.

This is also the secret of our deliverance. By our fulfillment of, "And He assembled all of the nation of the Children of Israel," through national unity we will merit the complete deliverance, speedily in our days, Amen.


Delivered orally; translated by David Devor from his notes and extensively edited by KabbalaOnline.org staff.

Copyright 2003 by KabbalaOnline.org, a project of Ascent of Safed (//ascentofsafed.com). All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this work or portions thereof, in any form, unless with permission, in writing, from Kabbala Online.

Rabbi Avraham Brandwein, the former Rebbe of Stretten,was descended from many of the great chassidic masters including the Maggid of Mezritch, Elimelech of Lizhensk and Levy Yitschak of Berdichev. Born in Israel in 1945, Rabbi Brandwein was the seventh generation in his family to live in Israel. (His family originally settled in Tsfat, the city of Kabbalists.) He was the Rosh Yeshiva of Kol Yehuda Yeshiva of Kabbalah in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, founded in 1967 by his father Rabbi Yehuda-Zvi Brandwein, who was the principal disciple and right hand of Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi Ashlag (Baal HaSulam). Since 1985 he taught Torah, Kabbalah and Chassidut throughout Israel and edited more than twenty volumes of classical Kabbalistic texts. He also served as a rabbi in the Absorption and Immigration Department of the Jewish Agency providing spiritual assistance to many new immigrants. He was known for his openness to people from all walks of life. He passed away a few days before Purim in 5773 (Feb. 2013) after a long struggle with illness.
David Devor was the originator of Project Mind, based on the book he authored of the same title. He was also its executive director until his passing in 2009, in Jerusalem.
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