Shimini Atzeret and Simchat Torah

Building a sukka (a booth for the Feast of Tabernacles), and the Desert Temple has something in common: realizing that Hashem our Lord is greater than any human building can contain and small enough to fit in any building and even in our hearts.

It is precious to see that the main builder of the Tabernacle, the Desert Sanctuary, is named Betzal’El. Precious because the name hints to believers in the G-d of Israel to live in His shadow. Precious also because the name seems to confirm that the Desert Sanctuary is a shadow of what the Almighty showed Moshe at Har Sinai. All the utensils Betzal’El made were then a shadow of the heavenly Sanctuary utensils.

All the copper, gold, precious stones, and fabrics were to be used with heavenly wisdom. And those who saw the end result and those who only read about it, will be able to recognize later how meticulous the work has been which Betzal’El has made. It is good to know that all this is preparation for G-d’s people when the New Jerusalem has come and Messiah reigns from it. It seems like nothing is good enough.

This must have to do with the commandment not to just a census, which Parashat Ki Tisa starts with. Whenever there is a census those counted will have to pay the portion for their souls (30:15). Torah teaches that is it forbidden to count Jews in the ordinary manner. Its seems like we are precious in G-d’s eyes. That feels good. And it invites all the more to live in G-d’s shadow, like Psalm 91 says: He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

Shabbat shalom,
Lion S. Erwteman, Rosh Kehilla of Beth Yeshua
Amsterdam, Holland