Posted on March 23, 2011
by Josh Nason
In Parshat Pekudei, the Israelites finally complete this project of building the Mishkan. The Israelites have donated gold, silver, and copper for this Dwelling Place. The Levites are placed in charge of building all the parts of the Mishkan. Once finished, the Mishkan wil hold the two tablets of the Ten Commandments and form a Dwelling Place for God. After the Levites finish this task, Moses is given a degree of divinely inspired strength, and raises the entire structure by himself.
God gives detailed descriptions of what each part should look like, and even more detailed descriptions of what each of the High Priests should be wearing. Upon reading this, one might wonder why God would need this to be recorded? Why would the Torah contain chapter after chapter of description on how the Mishkan was built? To top it all off, the Torah had already spend two Parashiot describing how it was meant to be built, before recounting all this in the story of how it is actually built. We may never know the answer. Perhaps it is to show how truly important it is for God to have a place on Earth. Perhaps it is to show the significance of the Jewish people working together as a community to build such a monumental and important structure.
In the last part of the Parshah God actually comes to dwell in the Mishkan. A cloud hovers over the Mishkan, symbolizing that God is dwelling there. When he dwells there, the Israelites are not to travel. When he rises from there, the Isaelites can journey. God clearly wanted the Israelites to know that he was there to protect them, and to give them a sense of guidance on their journey. This Parshah ends the book of Shemoth, and prepares us for Vayikra (Leviticus) where the majority of the Laws and customs of the Jewish people will be given to the Israelites.