Posted on Thursday, May 31st, 2012
How many Levis does it take to schlep a Mishkan? Well, there are a lot of parts. Whenever the Mishkan moved, each board, each curtain, each stake, each hook, and each vessel had to be schlepped. It was seen as a big honor. It was also somewhat abstract. At a certain point, I might find myself carrying a board or a stake and forgetting why. Without the clear external manifestation of our unity, we fall into our isolation. Which makes the reunification, when the cloud stopped and the call went out to reconstruct the Mishkan, that much more profound.
Relationship between parts and whole is one that the Torah speaks to in so many ways. The entire project of Torah requires parts - individuals - participating enthusiastically, in the whole. Rav Kook writes in his hagaddah that, unlike some systems where the individual simply does not matter, Torah Judaism is fully aware of the individuals that make the whole. And yet, walking around carrying a stake, I might feel only like an individual, with no sense of the whole.
So, we have some experiences and moments that 'stake' - me schlepping my piece, alone. And sometimes we feel the synergy of our pieces working together. This is "Mishkan." If, for example, I say a blessing over the kiwi I am about to eat, I don't feel Mishkan. I feel 'stake'. But when the whole community sings Grace After Meals together, I feel "Mishkan".
There are two places for growth here. The first is, when you are schlepping your 'stake', to remember that it fits into a larger Mishkan, even if you cannot feel it right now. This is emunah-faith. We will come together again, and its gonna be great, and I will see that schlepping the stake has real purpose.
The second work is the absorb the Mishkan moments when they happen. We should soak it up, love it, remember it, impress it upon our memories as true and real and inspiring.
Rav Gavriel Goldfeder
Filed in Torah Archives