By Rabbi Zalman Goldberg
The story of the building of the Mishkan contains a lot of guidance for us in the area of Bitachon, as we know that the point of building the Mishkan was that the G-dliness that came down during Mattan Torah should remain in this world permanently. Having an abode (for Hashem) among us, whether in the form of a unique edifice or in the figure of a great tzaddik, assists us in living in a way that Hashem is a reality in our lives, not something abstract.
Here we will focus on a specific detail which was crucial for creating the Mishkan. When Hashem initiated the fundraiser for the Mishkan, after listing all of the necessary precious objects, He made a heartfelt plea, “ועשו לי מקדש ושכנתי בתוכם -they should make for me a holy sanctuary and I will dwell among them.” Rashi comments that “ועשו לי-they should make for me” means “לשמי-for My name,” and “מקדש” means a house of k’dusha.
The question is raised: why does the pasuk need to repeat that the process should be done “for my name”? The pasuk already made that point when discussing the Yidden’s donations and says that the donations should be taken לשמי, so why does it need to be repeated by the instructions to build the Mishkan?
The Rebbe points out a very basic difference between ויקחו לי תרומה (receiving the donations), and ועשו לי מקדש (building the Mishkan)1. When the donations were given, they were merely handed over from their domain to the domain of hekdesh. The donated objects themselves didn’t become holy, they were simply owned by a holy owner.
ועשו לי מקדש was there to accomplish something totally different. It was there to elevate those objects that were donated so that they should become holy themselves, just like their owner. To accomplish this, there had to be a distinct kavana-intent that it should be for Hashem.
If it would have been enough that the donations were owned by hekdesh, then another intent that it should be for the sake of Hashem would not have been necessary. However, for every elevation a special כוונה was required, hence the second obligation to have kavana by the building of the Mishkan.
Essentially, this is alluded to in the two meanings of the word תרומה; אפרשותא and הרמה. The first meaning connotes separating, indicating that the donation was separated from the gold, silver, etc. that it was mixed in with earlier. The second meaning connotes elevation; not only is the object in a new domain, the donation actually receives a new spiritual status.
A parallel idea is described to have happened when Avraham Avinu bought M’aras HaMachpeila from Ephron. Rashi2 says that the field received an uplifted status by leaving the domain of an ordinary man and entering the king’s territory.
The Rebbe explains3 that ordinarily when a purchase takes place, the purchased object goes from the domain of the seller to that of the buyer. There remains an unspoken relationship to the seller, being the one from whom the object was bought. When a king acquires something it is not an issue of going from one domain to another; it becomes entirely the king’s, regardless of who was the previous owner. The acquired object undergoes a transformation in status and is elevated to a new station with no relation to where it originated. This is what occurred when Avraham bought the field containing the M’aras HaMachpeila.
Likewise with the building of the Mishkan, the goal was to elevate the materials to a level entirely higher than the status it had before it was donated.
This is the Bitachon lesson for us. When one decides to become closer to Hashem and ‘change domains’ from where they were previously to being more devoted to Hashem and His ways, this can be done either in a partial manner or completely.
Changing the kinds of people we socialize with to more refined associates, making our homes void of goyishkait, and by spending more time at shiurei Torah, are great ways to begin connecting more to Hashem (that He should become the only one in whom to place trust), but it is only stage one. In this stage it is ok if there are still mundane aspects in a person’s life as long as they are all used for the sake of Heaven. It must be noticeable in all day-to-day activities that they have changed from the domain where worldly objects remain worldly and they now belong to a ‘new’ owner to whom everyday aspects have a G-dly purpose4.
The second stage is that all mundane phenomena should become uplifted to the extent that there is no mundane atmosphere at all. All parts of life revolve around the Torah and Mitzvos they connect with. Every deed is not just inspired by Yiddishkait and in the ambience of Yiddishkait, the deed is a mitzvah, the action is a part of the Torah, an expression of G-dliness.
Such conduct, the behavior of ועשו לי (לשמי) מקדש, the לשמי in which k’dusha permeates a person’s life, is a true and complete Bitachon5 where not only is there no influence contrary to Hashem, there is no other influence at all, even a neutral one. There is only k’dusha, and a world that only expresses k’dusha.
Rabbi Zalman Goldberg is a well sought after speaker and lecturer on Chassidic thought. His writings and recordings on the topic of Bitachon can be accessed at http://www.gotbitachon.com.
1) לקו’’ש חכ’’ו ע’ 172.
2) בראשית כ’’ג, י’’ז.
3) לקו’’ש חל’’ה ע’ 84 ואילך.
4) ראה בבא בתרא ט’’ז,א פנינה לשם שמים נתכוונה.
5) שער הבטחון פ’’ג וההקדמה השלישית היא.