Heaven and Earth

Feb 16th, 2010 by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week
They associated their construction project with their sense of identity. They were united in their effort. They gathered materials even before they knew the exact nature of their project. They intended to create a place where heaven and earth would meet. I am speaking, of course, of the Tower of Babel. They manufactured bricks before they decided to build the Tower. They intended to make a name for themselves. They acted as one, in solid unity. The Tower would reach the heavens and connect heaven and earth. It all sounds eerily similar to the Mishkan – the Tabernacle. “I and Your people will be made distinct from every people on the face of the earth.” The Mishkan was inexorably intertwined with Israel’s identity, just as the Tower served to, “make a name for ourselves.” “This is the portion that you shall take from them: gold, silver and copper; and turquoise, purple, and scarlet wool; linen and goat hair; red-dyed ram skins, tachash skins, acacia wood; oil for illumination, spices…” First, the materials, only then, “They shall make a Sanctuary for Me,” just as the people involved in the Tower of Babel project: “Let us make bricks and burn them in fire.” Only after, “And the brick served them as stone, and the bitumen served them as mortar,” did they decide, “Come, let us build a city and a tower.” “Moses assembled the entire assembly of the Children of Israel;” they were united just as, “The whole earth was of one language and of common purpose.” The Tower was a place for the “whole world,” as was the Mishkan, “”For My House will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.” (Isaiah 56:7) The Children of Israel were driven to connect heaven and earth, “So that I may dwell among them,” just as the Tower project was intended, “with its top in the heavens.” Both projects were intended to extend Man’s reach, but while the one was holy and pure, the other led to tragedy. The Mishkan was a place of clarity, “Like everything that I show you.” The Tower resulted in confusion. The Tower project was to build up from the earth to the heaven. The Mishkan was designed to bring heaven down to earth, and therein lies the fundamental difference between the two creatively driven projects. The Tower was an expression of people who wanted to climb up to the highest heavens. The Mishkan nurtured our ability to bring heaven down to earth. The Mishkan does not take us out of this world into higher planes of existence; it transforms this very real world into our place for achievement and growth. The Mishkan nurtures our involvment in life. The Tower, as in, “the ivory tower,” of distance and remove, focused people on other worldly concerns, away from life. They could not imagine maintaining unity of purpose while struggling with the demands of this world. They could only find unity in other realms. The Mishkan charges us to bring heaven down to earth, to bring the holy into the mundane, to unify in this world, to be involved and to discover the taste of heaven, right here and now. Author Info: Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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