Lights, Camera, ACTION!
The 7 days of practice were over. It was now the eighth day, Rosh Chodesh Nissan, the first day of the month of Nissan. This month, only last year, the Jews had left the grand jail of Egypt! Now, Bnei Yisrael were ready for the next great event – HaShem’s holy Shechinah coming down in the Mishkan. (Actually, Mishkan and Shechinah are related – they both contain the Hebrew letters, Shin, Chof, Nun.)
Here’s how the Torah describes what Moshe did. Notice how there is one phrase that is repeated time and again – “just as HaShem commanded Moshe.”:
- Moshe put up the beams for the final time and left them standing. They wouldn’t come down again until Bnei Yisrael were summoned by HaShem to travel through the desert. He spread the tent over the Mishkan, “just as HaShem commanded Moshe.”
- He put the Luchos into the Aron and placed it in the Kodesh HaKodashim, “just as HaShem commanded Moshe.”
- He set up the Shulchan and placed 12 loaves of bread on it, “just as HaShem commanded Moshe.”
- He brought in the Menorah directly opposite the Shulchan and lit its lamps, “just as HaShem commanded Moshe.”
- He put the Mizbei’ach HaZahav in the Kodesh and burned sweet smelling incense on it, “just as HaShem commanded Moshe.”
- He hung the beautiful curtains over the Mishkan’s entrance. He then brought the Mizbei’ach HaNechoshes to the courtyard and sacrificed a burnt-offering of an animal on it, “just as HaShem commanded Moshe.”
- He set up the Kiyor, the special washing-basin, which the Kohanim would use to wash their hands and feet. He filled it with water, “just as HaShem commanded Moshe.”
- He set up the Chatser, the courtyard which surrounded the Mishkan, and placed a curtain over its entrance.
Finally, the Mishkan was complete! HaShem sent down clouds to completely surround it. There was even a cloud filling the inside of the Mishkan. The clouds were a sign to the people that HaShem’s holy Shechinah, Divine Presence, rested in the Mishkan. And when those clouds would rise up from the Mishkan, it was a signal for them to pack up their portable Mishkan and move on.
“It’s time to move on.”
“Let’s get going!”
“There’s no time to waste!”
It was there, in the Mishkan, that Bnei Yisrael would always feel HaShem’s presence, as they continued their 40-year journey through the wilderness of the desert toward the Holy Land, Eretz Yisrael!