“And they shall make Me a sanctuary and I will dwell in their midst” (I will get back to this later.)
I love the M*A*S*H reference, for it could be developed more. How does the Tabernacle provide healing in the way that the MASH unit did?
Yes, this is the Popular Mechanics parsha.
In answer to your first question, I will tell you something that you probably already know. I said in my direct remarks that their "spirits" were saved when they came to the Tabernacle. How many people have told you that being in the sanctuary of the JJC has given them hope after something has gone wrong in their lives? I stand at the bema during Neilah and direct congregants to stand next to the Torahs and it never ceases to amaze me the look of comfort that comes over them as they make their final "plea" for another year of life. How many souls have you touched with your advice taken from what the Torah has taught you?
It is interesting that you are not referring to a Mishnah for an explanation of where the materials came from. I am glad that you are advocating your own theories.
I like your explanation of how G-d "speaks" to us through the Torah. My problem is that there have been so many different explanations of what it means, it would be nice to have some direct dialogue as to the "instructions" given. I could give you an example of Kashrut but I want to save it for a parshah that deals directly with it.
If you are asking me why I pointed out that the world was created within a few paragraphs, yet the building of the tabernacle took an entire portion to explain, I was hoping for you to go at length about the symbolism of the Tabernacle. I think if it were up to G-d, he would not need material things to use as an example of what the Lord stands for. The All Mighty was dealing with a superstitious unbelieving set of people that needed convincing to see what they were getting into. G-d thought that the miracles would prove to them that there was only one G-d and that he would protect them if they believed in what he was telling them. Maybe the intricacy of the Tabernacle was part of what G-d thought the Israelites needed to see in order to maybe look "inside" the physical magnificence of the structure and learn what the material it carried could teach them.
I have always heard how "beautiful" our sanctuary is but how many of them realize that it is what is in the scroll that matters not the ornateness of its covering.
What you write reminds me of how good you are at connecting the parsha to our contemporary experience. Yes, I do recall how our congregants come before the Torah at Neilah and how they seem to gain a sense of comfort and strength from being in the presence of the scrolls.
You once again raise the issue of how G-d speaks to us. Your mastery of chumash is strong. Have you considered learning the Oral Torah – like the Mishnah and the Talmud? I think you could really strengthen your sense of what G-d is saying to us by studying beyond the Tanakh. That, at least, has been my experience.
The symbolism of the Tabernacle is a complicated subject. My sense is that the instructions for the Tabernacle have served as a mystical experience throughout the centuries. The instructions offer an opportunity to visualize what that holy space looked like. What I can say is that note how the instruction moves from inside to outside, beginning with the Ark and moving outward until we get to the tent itself. That seems significant and speaks to how one builds one’s own character – starting from the inner place and moving outward.
Indeed, G-d does not need material things for the sake of our worship of Him, but as embodied beings, we need material things to help us concretize. The risk, of course, is idolatry as we see with the Golden Calf. Your position sounds robustly Maimonidean. Spirit and abstraction alone should be our guide to G-d. The miracles and the Tabernacle are related in that both are about what is seen. The Israelites, however, have to learn to hear, not only to see.
The beautifying of our holy objects, including the scroll is necessary given the significance of aesthetics in the human experience.
It just goes to show you that to this day, we need a physical object to be able to relate.
As to learning the "Oral Torah" maybe that is something I will look at if I chose to retire. I think by now you understand that I am not that impressed with what was stated centuries ago and for now, I am looking at the original "book" to get my inspiration and to ask you its meaning.
As to your last comment, I gain my "significance" not from aesthetics but from what is inside the sometimes silver or gold "wrapper" or to put it another way, you cannot judge a book by its cover.