And it came to pass in the first month of the second year, on
the first of the month, the Mishkon was erected. And the
cloud covered the Ohel Mo'ed and the glory of Hashem
filled the Mishkon.
The two portions we read this week, Vayakhel- Pekudei,
describe the practical stages of the building of the Mishkon
which was concluded on Rosh Chodesh Nisan. And then did the
glory of Hashem reside therein.
Chazal say that already seven days prior, at the end of Adar,
Moshe Rabbenu erected the Mishkon daily and dismantled it at
the end of the day. The process was repeated for seven days
before it was left to stand permanently from the first of
Another difference between the seven-day period in Adar and
the eighth day in Nisan, was the nature of the avodoh
done then. "Throughout the seven days of dedication, Moshe
served as the kohen godol but the Shechina did
not come to rest upon the Mishkon. As soon as Aharon donned
the high-priestly garments on the eighth day and officiated,
the Shechina came to rest upon the Mishkon" (Midrash
Parshas Shemini, Perek Alef).
Homiletical works beautifully illuminate the significance of
this situation and the lesson to be extracted therefrom.
Moshe Rabbenu, master of all prophets, was certainly great
enough and duly worthy to draw the Shechina to the
Mishkon and have it rest there. But this is not what happened
since Hashem wished to teach us that the dwelling of the
Shechina in the Mishkon -- which is, in effect, the
very purpose of its construction -- is dependent upon the
degree of peace and serenity that is extant among Jewry. And
since it is Aharon who symbolizes for us peace and
brotherhood, for he was the lover of peace and pursuer
thereof, it was only through Aharon that peace could be
imbued in the Mishkon.
Chazal taught us: "Said R' Yuden: On the day that the Mishkon
was erected, Moshe entered and heard a sound of glory, a
pleasant, exhilarating sound. Said Moshe: `I would hear what
Hashem is saying. How is He speaking? With mercy? Otherwise?'
Hashem said to him: `Moshe! I am speaking peace unto them. I
have nothing else in My heart, as it is written: For He
speaks peace upon His people and upon His devout ones'"
(Yalkut Tehillim 100).
We see hereby that the Mishkon served as a symbol of peace
between Israel and their heavenly Father. Peace, we know, is
conditional upon unity amongst Israel. As Chazal put it: "So
long as there is peace in the retinue below, there is peace
in the heavenly retinue, as it is written: Who builds His
upper chambers in the heavens (Amos 9:6). When? At the
time that, `He has founded His stairway on the earth'
(Midrash, Shemiras Haloshon)."
Moshe Rabbenu taught this lesson by serving for seven days as
the kohen godol, each day erecting the Mishkon in the
morning and dismantling it in the evening, as if to say that
the center pole which unites the beams of the Mishkon and
holds them together erect on a firm footing was still
lacking. On the eighth day, when Aharon, pursuer of peace,
served as the Kohen, the Mishkon stood firmly and only
then did the Shechina come to dwell therein.
The question is asked in Avoda Zora 34: In what
garments did Moshe do the avoda during the seven days
of his service? And the answer is given: In a white tunic-
garment that was fashioned without a hem. The Baalei
Hatosafos explain there that Moshe's garment was purposely
sewn without a hem, as opposed to the regular priestly
garments which did have a double facing, so that all should
regard Moshe's service as only temporary; it would not
continue once Aharon was installed.
Why was this particular way chosen to publicize that fact?
There is deep significance in the choice. In a garment
missing a hem or inner facing, there is nothing to unite the
threads and to keep them from unraveling. Its not eventually
unraveling is almost inconceivable.
So it is with the Mishkon. Without the retinue down below to
unite Israel, the Mishkon is constructed and dismantled
repeatedly. When is it established more permanently and
When peace and unity reign. Then does Aharon perform his
priestly tasks in a tunic that has a hemmed (doubled under)
border which holds it together forevermore (based on