Tetzaveh–Rendezvous

[The daily morning and evening sacrifices] shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at  the door of the tent of meeting before the LORD, where I will meet with  you, to speak there to you.  There I will meet with the people of Israel, and it shall be sanctified  by my glory.  Ex. 29: 42-43

In the previous parsha we were introduced to the sanctuary compound (mikdash “holy area”) and the mishkan (“abode,” which can refer either to the entire sanctuary compound or the covered structure within it). This parsha introduces us to a third term, “tent of meeting” which also refers either the sanctuary or the covered structure.  This term emphasizes the Tabernacle as an oracle site.  The word translated “meeting” (mo’ed) derives from a verb that means to meet at an appointed place.  The Tent of Rendezvous.

In the midrashim, this encounter involves the radical decision of God to “downsize” to human scale.  “When God said, “make me a Dwelling place Moses wondered, and said, “the glory of God fills the upper and lower worlds, and yet he says to me, make me a dwelling place.”  God said, “not as you deem so do I deem, but 20 boards to the north, and 20 to the south, and eight to the west (are enough for me).  And not only that, but I will come down and confine my Shechinah within a square yard.”  God does this to be near his children, out of love: “See how potent was the love of God for Israel in that this divine glory was constrained, so was to appear speaking from the Mercy seat between the two cherubim.”

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