Topic Archive: mishkan/tabernacle

What are we doing in God’s Underwear?

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Midrash HaGadol: Gold, silver, and copper… (25:3-7)

The materials donated for the Mishkan correspond to the components of the human being. “Gold” is the soul; “silver,” the body; “copper,” the voice; “blue,” the veins; “purple,” the flesh; “red,” the blood; “flax,” the intestines; “goat hair,” the hair; “ram skins dyed red,” the skin of the face; “tachash skins,” the scalp; “shittim wood,” the bones; “oil for lighting,” the eyes; “spices for the anointing oil and for the sweet incense,” the nose, mouth and palate; “shoham stones and gemstones for setting,” the kidneys and the heart.

Rabbi Shmuel said: The materials donated for the Mishkan correspond to the heavens. “Gold” is the sun; “silver,” the moon; “copper,” the western horizon at sunset; “blue,” the sky; “purple,” the clouds; “red,” the rainbow; “flax,” the seraphim; “goat,” the constellation of capricorn; “ram skins dyed red,” thunder; “tachash skins,” lightening; “shittim wood,” shooting stars; “oil for lighting,” the seven planets; “spices for the anointing oil and for the incense,” dew and rain; “shoham stones and gemstones for setting”—hail and snow. Said G-d: “My dwelling is in the heavens; if you make Me a Sanctuary on earth, I shall dwell in it.”

“You Are The Temple” by Shir Yaakov

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You are the dwelling
And the Indwelling Presence.

You are the tent
And its opening.

You are the pomegranate — full to bursting.
You are the bell. Empty. Ringing.

You are the space that keeps things whole.

You are engraved work.

You are this entire gathering — ויקהל
You are the accounting — פקודי

You are the parts being joined
And you are the joiner
It is up to you to adjourn the Tent of Meeting.

Make no mistake
Your body is not a temple.

You, who hears these words,
Who feels and fills the space you sit in —
You are the temple.

Your exquisite lungs, as they breathe This. Very. Breath.
Are the wings of Heruvim
Hovering over and
Holding your heart.

Your heart, the joyous and eternal center
Of the arc of your life, is —
The Ark where the truest covenants are made.

Your mind, the Lamp:
The branching unity
Centered throughout your being
Seven shimmering Auras. Torahs. Shakras.
The menorah, your Mind.

You are not your mind.

The drape of skin
Blood-red when taut and drawn towards the sky
Capillaries, miniscule details, minutia of the eye
The rainbowing oils under the slick tent.

You are not what you feel.

The incense and what incenses you.
The scent of a lingering lover and the copper laver which resets.
Skirts in the marketplace and a mistaken face in a crowd.

Live in the sanctuary that is our life.
Live in the sanctuary that is life.

Live in One Place.

—Shir Yaakov Feit, 2013/5773