In The Tents of Shem
Rabbi David Katz
In Parashas Pekudei, the Mishkan is finalized, and is now ready for the mantle of being the official "Tent of Meeting" - a title and status that until now was in full possession of Moses. The Mishkan of course is the first fruits of the known command in the Torah, "Make for me a temple [to dwell in]," and now with Sinai over, and the entire people ready to move on with the Golden Calf behind them, the [mobile] Mishkan satisfies the wishes of God. They are now able to be fully mobile, holy, and potentially ready to enter the Land when the Lord beckons as such. What may come as a surprise however is that the blueprint concept/prototype is in fact not new or first introduced now; the original idea dates back at least as far as Shem, and his work on the Ark. All through history man has been making a vessel of the Divine or supernatural; from Adam in the Garden, we find the Tower of Bavel [Tower of Babylon], the Ark, the Mishkan, the Temples, etc. The aspect that we take away from this knowledge is that Craftsmanship is perhaps the most Messianic aspect of the entire Torah, such that Shem is listed as the Righteous Priest – straight from his work on the Ark. The further we delve into the Mishkan, and add the element of Shem on every level we are Blessed to find a tradition that literally is the bond [pun intended] between Gerim and Jews; this being the model [pun intended] for all of time.
There are a certain number of raw materials [OK – I am going to use constructive words intentionally, thus no longer being a pun, but reinforcing the project] that we must identify and set aside in order to erect the structure that allows us to further understand the spirituality in Torah craftsmanship, as epitomized by the Mishkan. The tools we need with the intention of connecting the dots are as follows: Moses, Shem, Mishkan, Gerim bringing Melacha [Creative product], Ger women and the Laver, House of Study, the concept of being a vessel [personal Mishkan – as it was originally intended to be] of the Divine, Moses' tent – and calling it in the "Ohel Moed" [Tent of Meeting], Tents of Shem, Noah's Blessing, The Golden Calf, The lost "jewelry" of their fall in sin, Messiah and the Mishkan, Torah and Prayer, Noah and his ark, the Ark and Shem, The Four Craftsmen of Redemption, The Book of Raziel [given to Adam], Solomon and his Temple, The Prophet Ezekiel – and his Temple, "learning about the Temple is building it, the Zohar as a "Noah's Ark", The Ger Code, Torah of Faith [Rebbe Nachman philosophy that through living we become "it"], Angelic attainment as Man, and the Primordial Temple/Dwelling. These are the tools and components that we need to draw a picture that will fully explain the peripheral world of our newly completed Mishkan in Parashas Pekudei.
The subject matter right out of the gate becomes a bit complex [yet we must realize that it is still ultimately simple] when we simultaneously draw upon several key matters, namely Shem and Moses, the Mishkan and the Ark, the builders then and now, the tents of Shem and Moses, and construction that comes from learning – for all of times as a principle. In essence once we consolidate our parts, we have created tangible devices to depict the story of just what this Mishkan represents.
In a simple over-view of things, the rambling story would sound like this: 1) Adam sinned and received the Book of Raziel; a Book of Torah inspiration 2) The Book inspired many, all the way to Noah 3) Noah gave it to Shem, and they learned how to detail the Ark from this inspiration 4) Shem becomes the master craftsman, and the embodiment of the Man/Chariot 'Kruv" [angelic man]; the Ark is actually vested in his wisdom more than Noah 5) Shem and his "Tents of Torah" [prophesied by Noah] are the antithesis of the Tower of Bavel 6) Shem's wisdom is contained in the Ark design by perfect engineering of action and learning 7) Shem is aimed only at Sinai 8) Sinai grafts Shem into Moses' Torah – through common inspiration and absolute unity in their souls and every other matter 9) Parashas Noah contains the wisdom of Shem in the Ark, thus the graft is accomplished 10) Moses grabs the "jewelry" [angelic levels] and the work from the Gerim, thus making a study hall for learning Torah, praying, Mishkan – study, etc. 11) Moses' tent is synonymous with Shem's Tent [an inheritance] and is the precursor to the Mishkan 12) dwelling in Moses' tent is the mastery of the original inspiration contained in the Book of Raziel, the Ark, Ezekiel's Temple, the Ger Code that spiritually reveals/builds the Temple, etc. 13) Moses' tent becomes the Mishkan, which becomes the inspiration of the Anointed [Messiah] symbolized by the Mishkan's anointed status 14) the anointed status is symbolic of Messiah, Elijah, the Gerim, and Malki Tzedek – the essence of the Four Craftsmen of Redemption [Targum Yonaton on the Mishkan, Mizbeach, and the Laver].
In real time the story would sound like this: Adam sinned and got the Book, then Shem and Noah made the boat, and passed its secrets onwards into Moses' lap, and then Moses wrote the Torah and included all previous inspiration; this serves as Parashas Noah, then Moses made a tent that became the source of Messianic wisdom known as the Soul of Moses, then the Mishkan was erected [through the special help of the Gerim], and it contains the code, wisdom, and knowledge – tradition to build the actual Temple, and finally we will be redeemed by means of this wisdom, through Jews and Gerim working together, specifically through these agencies of Wisdom and Torah. In one breath, that is the flow of events, with all of the elements provided above available to be inserted for context, such as the Tower of Bavel, and the other characters and vessels, etc. In essence, life can be looked at as one big art project that we are trying to figure out just what it is that we are supposed to build. The Mishkan is where we got a clear description of what it is, and combined with past and future events, we can begin to conceive this design and how it is to function. For all intents and purposes, this is the secret of the Third Temple.
Thus here we are and the Mishkan is completed, it is called the Tent of Meeting – a title previously held by Moses' Tent. Yet Moses retains his study tent, and it is synonymous with the prophesied Tents of Shem. Targum Yonaton Commentary states that Moses' tent contains the spiritual power that can return Man to the state of angelic being before any type of sin through the calf or Tree of Knowledge; this being by "sitting" in this tent, an d mastering the "Soul of Moses" – which uniquely termed the Tree of Life, the same Tree that Shem ate of and became his Torah. Thus this Torah of Shem [that was inspired by the Book of Raziel] became the basis of the Ark and Parashas Noah [as included by Moses by God's command]. Furthermore, with all of the momentum of wisdom from ancient texts, and craftsmanship in the Ark, and onwards into the Mishkan, Soloman's Temple, and the Third Temple, Jews and Gerim became destined to study and draw down priestly revelation that is promised to bring floor plans of the Third Temple, and even be the very anointing oil that will crown the Messiah and redemption team.
Making matters simple to understand, over topics like Ger code, ancient wisdom, Temples, Gerim and Jews, Shem, etc. is to look to the Zohar; for what it accomplishes is the consolidation of this entire mission in one comprehensive study work. For that, the Zohar rightfully terms itself as a Noah's Ark. For all intents and purposes, it is a reflection of Moses' tent, a Tent of Meeting, and the hidden scenes from the Mishkan. The Zohar within this context becomes the level of the Torah as described in the Midrash Rabbah's opening words, that the Torah is a Craftsman's tool.
The Torah began well before the World ever knew of Shem, and history will finish in a time that we will all have forgotten about Shem. The Torah was given, and through it we will always know Shem and his wisdom, and the Zohar is able to be written once the Torah of Moses is delivered at Sinai; encapsulating the builder's manual in supernatural fashion. Yet here we are in Pekudei, the Mishkan is finished, and it is now the official Tent of Meeting, one that is fully equipped with a study hall. Yet when we get to the soul of its functionality, we can really only turn to Noah and words of wisdom that he spoke, such that the Gerim carry this message all the way into the Third Temple. For Noah said, "Baruch Hashem, the God Shem…for they will dwell in the Tents of Shem." And as much as this is true, and indoctrinated into THE [One] Torah, we look forward to the building of the Third Temple, one that can only be built by the sons of Shem, and to be built only by a King. There are Four Craftsman of Redemption, of which Shem is the Righteous Priest - the master craftsman; one that anoints all three in their Craft… And among them [Shem is also dubbed] is Malki Tzedek…for from him is the wisdom that anoints the Messiah, from the place of Supernal Wisdom [Otzros Ramchal, Ramchal]. Amen Amen.
Don't miss the Video Class covering the Parasha In-Depth - Tonight at 11 P.M. Tzfat Time!
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