Midreshet Amit


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Mishkan in Microcosm

By: Hannah Goldring

After the Jews built the Mishkan while they were in the desert, Moshe ordered that a calculation be made of all the materials used. In this, we see the significance that every particular entity possesses.Every person, every object that exists in its time, exists for a divine purpose. Each thing Hashem creates contributes something to His master plan for creation.

Our lives are constantly in a state of moving, going, and planning. The world never stops. We never stop. But, as we learn in this weeks parsha, we see that in life there are times in which we must pause, and reflect on the actions that we have just participated in. To live life in the most fulfilling and meaningful way, we must take out time to review our actions and check whether we have made the correct use of everything that Hashem has blessed us with. So too, Moshe wanted to acknowledge each individual thing that contributed to the building of the Mishkan, make sure that it was used properly, and give it the recognition it deserved.

Specifically, the calculation described in the Torah includes: “the account of the sums of gold, silver, brass donated for the Mishkan, and the account of all its utensils, and its services.” This implies that there were two levels to the calculation mentioned. First, it was made of the resources available, and then an inventory was taken of how these resources were used.

We can take these concepts and apply them to our personal lives. First, a person has to make account of his potentials; one has to be aware of what he can and can not do. After, one must calculate how he has used those potentials, and what one has achieved with them.Furthermore, the process of taking a personal inventory makes an individual closely look at himself. More importantly, when there are numerous elements to examine, as it was in the parsha, it is necessary to determine what is the best way in which to use each one.

We need to be more aware of the world that surrounds us. There is no way that any person, no matter how great his abilities, can function successfully entirely on his own. And when he sees himself as nothing but an element within the greater picture (the sole concept of humility), a whole which is greater than the parts it encompasses, his individual self is enhanced.

But what is this greater whole? Moshe was taking inventory of the elements of the Mishkan, the place where Hashem’s presence rested. Similarly, the purpose of our existence is to reveal that his entire creation is a dwelling for his presence. By developing our own potentials to the best of our abilities, taking advantage, rather than rejecting our responsibilities as Jews, and uniting with other Jews for a higher purpose, each one of us becomes a “Mishkan in microcosm”. This reveals Hashem’s G-dliness in our own lives, while spreading the awareness of G-d in the world as a whole.