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Torah Portion

Weekly Torah Portion: Long-Term Planning for the Tabernacle

The boards which form the walls of the Tabernacle are made from accacia wood. [Image: Wiki Commons]

The boards which form the walls of the Tabernacle are made from accacia wood. [Image: Wiki Commons]


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The Tabernacle building itself is to be constructed out of several parts. Its walls are to consist of planks with tabs on each end. The tabs fit into silver sockets which hold every pair of adjacent planks together. Three bars, top, bottom and center, also secure the planks of each wall to each other.

The walls are to be covered with different curtains: ten curtains of linen and wool woven with a design of cherubs, eleven curtains of goat hair, a cover of red-dyed ramskin and a cover of tachash (seal) skins. The curtains are to have hooks and loops to connect them to each other and they are to be layered over the Tabernacle walls, with the eleventh goat hair curtain overhanging the entrance.

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Between the main chamber of the Tabernacle and the Holy of Holies, a partition is to be hung, made of the same twisted and woven wool and linen with a cherub design. The Ark is to be positioned inside the Holy of Holies, while the Table and Menorah sit in the main chamber. A screen is also to be placed at the entrance of the Tabernacle, made of gold-plated planks and covered with the same woven fabric.

The boards from which the walls are to be constructed are called Hakerashim, meaning the boards, implying specific boards known to Moses. The Israel Bible cites a Jewish tradition which maintains that Jacob planted the necessary trees on his way down to Egypt so that his descendants would have them to build the Tabernacle. The message here is two-fold: from Jacob we learn to prepare for the future, but we also learn not to give up hope. The exile is temporary and the Jews will return to their homeland.

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