The Mishkan brings light over darkness

March 10, 2016  

Why were the Table, Menorah and Altar positioned in the Mishkan (Tabernacle) the way they were? “He put the Table in the Tent of meeting on the North side of the Tabernacle, outside the partition” (40:22).

“He placed the Menorah in the Tent of Meeting opposite the Table on the South Side of the Tabernacle” (40:24). “He placed the Gold Altar in the Tent of Meeting in front of the Partition” (40:26). What was G-d teaching us by placing the Table on the North side which is on the Left looking out from the Holy of Holies, the Menorah on the South side which is on the Right and the Altar in the middle? The answer to this question is found in the writings of my Great Great Grandfather Rav Yitzchok Isaac Chover Z’TL. In order to understand what is to follow one must realize that G-d, Almighty in his Infinite Wisdom uses Human Anatomy as the model for Creation. Every Physician understands how intricate Human Anatomy is and how it holds the keys to understanding the Universe.

The Blueprint for Creation is the Human Body and the Human Body encompasses all of creation. As the Torah states, “And G-d said, “Let us make Man in our Image, after our Likeness.””(1:26) “So G-d created Man in his image, in the image of G-d He created him.”(1:27) “In the image of G-d He made man.”(9:6) This all attests to how the Human Being represents Creation. The Mishkan(Tabernacle) is also a model of Creation. In a sense the Mishkan is a re-creation of Creation (in other words a microcosm of our World/Universe). The Mishkan and the Human Body therefore share their representation of Creation.

The Menorah represents the heart of the Human Body. It is the “Ruach” and it is literally and figuratively the Fire. The Table(Shulchan) represents the Nefesh-the Lungs-the Physical-“Maaseh”(Action). The Altar which is in the middle is the Blood(Life Force) which connects the Heart and Lungs continuing Life. The Holy of Holies is the Brain representing the Neshama(Soul). The Cheruvim are the Ribs. They protect the Heart and Lungs. The Menorah sits on G-d’s Right because it represents the Higher Sphere, the World of Light. The Right always represents strength. On the Left sits the Table which represents Earth and our physical world which is Dark, where one cannot see clearly, where the Yetzer Hara (Evil Impulse) and the Satan are strong.

It is no coincidence that the name of the Satan is “Semol” which means Left in Hebrew. I would tangentially say that the Political Left better watch out for these forces because they tend to reside more so there. There is no Yetzer Hara or Satan in the World of Light represented by the Menorah. Rav Yitzchok Isaac Chover Z’TL uses the Posuk from Mishlei (20:20) to demonstrate the power of the “Ruach” represented by the Menorah and and the Nefesh represented by the Table. “The Candle (NER) of G-d is the Soul (Neshama) of Man.”(20:20) The first letter of the word “NER” stands for “Nefesh” and the second letter stands for “Ruach”. He further brings down the Posuk from Deuteronomy (4:36) to hammer home his point “From Heaven he caused you to hear His Voice in order to teach you, and on Earth He showed you His Great Fire, and you heard His Words from the midst of the fire.”  Doing Mitzvot and learning Torah cause the joining of the Higher and Lower Worlds.

They bring G-d into this world of Darkness to bring Light to the Darkness. This is what the Altar is doing in the middle. The Altar is the physical action or Mitzvah that connects the Menorah’s Light with the daily mundane Bread of our existence on the Table. The Altar connects the physical (“Nefesh”) with the Spiritual (“Ruach”) and transforms the physical to a spiritual level. Our whole life is an attempt to attain spiritual heights from the physical. This is the basis of Creation. Rav Yitzchok Isaac Chover Z’TL mentions that the reason the Torah starts with the “Letter Bet” in the word “Breishit” is to tell us that G-d created two (“Bet”) worlds (the Spiritual and the Physical-The Upper and the Lower-the World of Light and the World of Darkness).

G-d made Mitzvot physical actions not lofty thoughts. The Mishkan is the re-creation of Creation because it transforms the physical into spiritual. It brings Light to a Dark World through action. With continued Mitzvot and Torah learning Light should prevail over the Darkness that now surrounds us. Chazak! Chazak! VeNitchazek! Shabbat Shalom. Special thanks to My Beloved Brother and Rebbe Rabbi Dr. David Frager S’HLITA. Special thanks to my Moreh D’Atra Rabbi Shlomo Hochberg S”HLITA. In memory to My Beloved Uncles Z’L, Descendants of Rav Yitzchok Isaac Chover Z’TL, whose Yahrzeits are soon approaching Zvi Yisrael Ben Zalman Yehuda and Moshe ben Zalman Yehuda.

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