Though it was God’s house, it never became His Majesty’s Temple.
The Mishkan was the very first people’s house. God commands Moses to accept contributions from anyone, whatever their heart desires (kol nediv libo) to donate to the Tabernacle. And, as I’ve written in a previous year, God finds a use for every last item offered.
In the words of the poet Maya Angelou, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
The Tabernacle was a place of hierarchy, of pomp, and ritual. Priests and Levites entered areas forbidden to commoners. Not everyone had the same opportunities during a service or sacrifice.
But everyone was connected to it; they all had a hand in its foundation.
When a prosecutor stands in court to represent “the people vs.” they are, in the purest form, mimicking a lesson from the building of the Tabernacle.
People must always feel their voice is heard. It doesn’t mean they always win, but it means they had a fair hearing, a fair shot, and a fair—even if undesirable—outcome.
That’s the lesson of the Tabernacle. It’s one every government, and indeed, all of us in our communal and personal lives should remember more often.
Words to consider. Ideas to ponder. Politics and the parsha.
By Howie Beigelman