Pekudei–How to love the world

And Moses saw all the work, and behold, they had done it; as the LORD  had commanded, so had they done it. And Moses blessed them.  Exodus 39:43

If it wasn’t so late, I’d dive into a study of the parallels between the story of the building of the Tabernacle and the story of creation.   Buber made such a study, I could look it up.  But it’s after 1AM.

For example, doesn’t the verse quoted above sound like the end of the first creation story?  “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. . .  And God blessed the seventh day” (Gen 1:31, 2:3).  I’m sure Buber noticed that.

Or read the summary of Moses building the tabernacle that you find in Exodus 40:17-33 and see if it doesn’t feel to you like a creation account: “[Moses] laid its bases, . . . and raised up its pillars; and he spread the tent over the tabernacle, and put the covering of the tent over it” (40:18-19), etc.  Perhaps some of the parallels exist because we have imagined creation as a house.  But that still reinforces the connection between tabernacle and creation.

For Jewish tradition, the building of the Tabernacle has implications for all of human activity.  The Rabbis turned to the account of the mishkan story to find out what kinds of activity constituted “work” (and hence were encouraged six days a week, but forbidden on Shabbat).   Thus the Sefat Emet can say “The labor of the tabernacle redeemed every deed that exists in the world. . . . Thus “doing” as a whole was redeemed. . . . It is called “the tabernacle of witness” for by it Israel made it clear that all of Creation belongs to God.”

May our holy spaces, the environments we create to foster awareness of God, be not only places of refuge, but a witness to us that “the whole earth is full of [God’s] glory.”

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