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Making our home into a Mishkan

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

A thought for the new week: How many sandwiches did you make this morning? How many dishes did you wash yesterday? Our commentators explain that such unspectacular everyday acts can perpetuate the spirit of the holy work done on the construction of the Mishkan.

Parashat Terumah describes in detail how the Mishkan was built. Dozens of small, mundane, physical acts were performed. Some are mentioned several times and some must have been exhausting, but the hard work and persistence created, in the end, something precious and holy.

What is our Mishkan today? According to the Ramban, Rabbi Moshe Ben Nachman, the first Mishkan -- the first place where the shechinah or divine presence dwelt, even before the desert Mishkan was built -- was the home: It was the tent of Avraham and Sarah. The desert Mishkan was an attempt to recreate the same atmosphere, the same refinement, the same sense of brotherhood and closeness that existed in that tent.

Our commentators explain that this model pertains to the four walls around us, to our own homes: places that demand a variety of ordinary acts which, in demanding constant attention and devotion, transform our homes into sanctuaries of content and meaning..

If only we can feel such sanctity the next time we put the living room in order.

Shavua tov.


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