The Shechina and us – Shabbat Parshat Pekudei

This week brings us to the end of the book Shemot.  The final chapter of building the Mishkan, the Tabernacle. The last verse in Shemot is : “The divine cloud was over the Mishkan by day, and fire by night, in front of Bnei Yisrael, through all of their travels” (Shemot 40.38).

כִּי֩ עֲנַ֨ן יְהֹוָ֤ה עַֽל־הַמִּשְׁכָּן֙ יוֹמָ֔ם וְאֵ֕שׁ תִּהְיֶ֥ה לַ֖יְלָה בּ֑וֹ לְעֵינֵ֥י כׇל־בֵּֽית־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל בְּכׇל־מַסְעֵיהֶֽם׃

The Shechina, the Divine Spirit manifested itself at all times upon the Mishkan.

At the beginning of the commandment to build the Mishkan the Hashem says: “And they’ll make me a sanctuary and I’ll dwell among them.”

וְעָשׂוּ לִי מִקְדָּשׁ וְשָׁכַנְתִּי בְּתוֹכָם.

It doesn’t state “and I’ll dwell in it,” but, “and I’ll dwell among them.   and so We became the “place” for the Shechina to dwell at.  How can a human being achieve this level?

There is much in the Torah about maintaining the Kedusha, the Holiness of the Mishkan. This applies to each person. The Torah has a unique approach to the concept of holiness. It advocates taking part in the physical world. Of all the creations, only the human being can uplift his actions and make them unique and purposeful, thereby distinguishing himself. Living on the level that one participates in the world on a physical level, with the pleasures the world has to offer, but using it as a vehicle for service of Hashem , is the  true Kedusha.

Our forefathers are a perfect example for all generations. Every individual experiences the journeys of our forefathers in the desert. We have our high points, as well as great difficulties and low points. One who holds on to the commitment of living life a purpose – Kedusha, and maintaining a direction, remains consistent through all the many challenges we encounter. This person is traveling through life with the Shechina resting upon him. Hashem’s presence stands guard over him/her paving the way through the rough terrain of life.

A joyful month Adar II. and Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Chaim Michael Biberfeld