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(G-d said to Moses) "They shall make for Me a sanctuary, and I will reside amongst themů according to the way I shall show themů so they will make it" (25:8-9)
The emphasis on making the Tabernacle - the "sanctuary" is in the plural. Whereas the instructions for making the individual items (with the exception of the Ark, the Eiphod, and the hollow nature of the Altar) and the actual structure, piece by piece were given in the singular, the construction of the Tabernacle as a whole is associated with the plural. Instead of "you shall make for Me a sanctuary" it is "they shall make for me a sanctuary".
In addition, the order to build the Tabernacle is tagged at the end with "so they will make it". The Talmud (Sanhedrin 16b) takes that to mean "for future generations". The Tabernacle should be the model for building future places of worship, including the Temple in Jerusalem - and in broader terms, the synagogue.
It may be additionally suggested that "so they will make it" emphasizes the willing nature of people to contribute to places of worship. As with the Tabernacle: "all who are generous shall contribute" (25:2), so with places of worship. All people should not feel that they are contributing for lack of choice or out of social pressure, but because that is really the thing that they want to do.
It may be applied in today's terms to the building of a new (and in geographical terms necessary) place of worship. (Perhaps li - meaning for the sake of G-d's worship, is opposed to breakaway congregations for lack of will to amicably settle synagogue politics). There is a well-known tendency for people of modest means to sit back and say - "Let millionaires X and Y pay the bill; why should I be involved when I'm having enough of a problem to scrape to pay for the rent?"
Against this; the Torah says "No". All people shall be involved, irrespective of their means in making the sanctuary. It is to be For Me - "My service". As indeed was the case in the Tabernacle.
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Written by Jacob Solomon. Tel 02 673 7998. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org for any points you wish to raise and/or to join those that receive this Parasha sheet every week.
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Also by Jacob Solomon:
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