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Through their generosity, Jewish People infused the Tabernacle with unique holiness.

Preparations and Revelations

Preparations and Revelations

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Preparations and Revelations
Through their generosity, Jewish People infused the Tabernacle with unique holiness.

"…Let every generous person bring the contribution for G‑d." (Ex. 35:5)

Besides demonstrating the extent to which they regretted their involvement in the Golden Calf and their desire for G‑d to once again dwell among them, the people's enthusiasm in participating personally in offering the material for constructing the Tabernacle affected the very nature of the Tabernacle itself.

Since there was no preparation, the recipients have no way of retaining the revelation they receive….

When G‑d gave the Torah at Mount Sinai, it was, relatively, an act of His own initiative. As we have already seen, a revelation from above that is initiated from above has both advantages and disadvantages. The advantage of such a revelation is that it is not limited by the capacity of the recipients; since no preparatory work was done, G‑d need not concern Himself with accommodating such preparations. The disadvantage is that since there was no preparation, the recipients have no way of retaining the revelation they receive, and therefore its effects are transitory. Thus, despite the transcendent revelations that accompanied the Giving of the Torah, its effect was only temporary. The mountain was so holy during the revelation that anyone who touched it was liable to die, but as soon as the revelation was over it reverted to its mundane state. The Jewish people achieved the exalted spiritual level of Adam before the sin, but this did not prevent them from sinning with the Golden Calf a mere forty days later.

With the construction of the Tabernacle, however, the people participated in preparing for the revelation that was to occur upon its completion. Therefore, via the Tabernacle, holiness became part and parcel of our existence. This, indeed, was its essence: G‑d made His home among us.

In this context, the enthusiasm with which the people donated materials toward the Tabernacle's construction expressed their willingness to have G‑d dwell among them permanently. Their generosity and alacrity were what infused the Tabernacle with this quality, and by extension, what enabled the people themselves to be fit for the ongoing revelation of G‑d's presence in their own lives.

© 2001 Chabad of California/www.LAchumash.org

Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson (11 Nissan 1902–3 Tammuz 1994) became the seventh rebbe of the Chabad dynasty on 10 Shevat 1950. He is widely acknowledged as the greatest Jewish leader of the second half of the 20th century, a dominant scholar in both the revealed and hidden aspects of Torah, and fluent in many languages and on scientific subjects. The Rebbe is best known for his extraordinary love and concern for every Jew on the planet, having sent thousands of emissaries around the globe, dedicated to strengthening Judaism.

Moshe Yaakov Wisnefsky is a scholar, author and anthologist, and is editor-in-chief at Chabad House Publications of California. He is the author and translator of Apples from the Orchard, gleanings from the writings of the Arizal (Rabbi Isaac Luria, 1534–1572) on the Torah, and is the author and editor-in-chief of the Kehot Chumash produced by Chabad House Publications, featuring an interpolated translation of the Torah with commentary adapted from the works of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
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