Klal Yisrael experienced Yetzias Mitzrayim, then Krias Yam Suf, then received the Man and the Be’er Shel Miriam, then Matan Torah, and then finally, the Mishkan. The question is, what exactly did the Mishkan contribute to this chain of development of Klal Yisrael? Explains Rav Isaac Sher in his Sefer Leket Sichos Mussar, a concept in serving Hashem properly is to do so with consistency.
Hisorerus, when a person is inspired, is beautiful. Yet, no matter how great the inspiration and strong the Chizuk, it eventually passes, and hopefully something remains. What remains and becomes part of the person contributes to the development of the person. When Klal Yisrael left Mitzrayim, they developed as a nation. Yetzias Mitzrayim, Krias Yam Suf, the Man, Matan Torah, then G-d said there’s a Mishkan. The Mishkan is something that’s Temidi, constant. It’s always there, day after day. It has a set and consistent Avodah every day.
‘V’asu Li Mikdash V’shachanti Besochem’ — this was ultimately called the Mishkan, and not the Mikdash. Says Rav Isaac Sher, HKBH said I’m giving you a Mishkan, a place where I reside; it’s your job to transform this into a Mikdash, a place that’s a source of Kedushah for all of you. The Mishkan, the Beis HaMikdash, or today’s Yeshiva or Shul is supposed to serve as that anchor of stability in our service of G-d. A place of solace where whatever is happening outside, enables a person to be a part of the Kahal in which there’s a consistent Avodah.
There’s a Halachah that Tadir V’sh’eino Tadir, Tadir Kodem. In serving G-d, when you have to perform two things, the one which is more commonly performed takes precedence. For example, in the Beis HaMikdash, the Korban that was Tadir was offered prior to the one that wasn’t. On Shabbos Rosh Chodesh Bentching, we recite Retzei V’hachlitzeinu for Shabbos prior to Ya’aleh V’yavo for Rosh Chodesh. The one that’s Tadir takes precedence.
Rav Elchonon Wasserman explains why does Tadir take precedence? Is it because it’s more Chashuv, like Kohen, Levi Yisrael, or is it just an order, like Avraham, Yitzchak, Yaakov but it doesn’t carry with it any more significance? The Yesod is that Tadir is a Chashivus. That which is constant and consistent, that’s Temidi, is something that’s Chashuv. The Mikdash provides the Chashivus of something that’s constant, of something that’s Tadir. That’s the Yesod of the Mishkan and Beis HaMikdash.
Further, the Gemara Shabbos 102b teaches that we learn the 39 Melachos that are Assur on Shabbos are derived from the Avodas HaMishkan. The Gemara asks in the Melachah of building, how much do you have to build to be Chayav? ‘Kol She’hu,’ any amount; there’s no shiur. Why isn’t there a shiur? If there was a Keresh, one of the boards or pillars that formed the wall of the Mishkan, and an ant or worm dug a hole in it, they would drip lead into the hole to fill it up. That’s Boneh of a Kol She’hu.
The Sfas Emes, in his Sefer on Shas, asks the Mishna Middos 2:5 teaches that in the Beis HaMikdash, there was room called the Lishchas HaEitzim, the storage place of the firewood. For this, a Ba’al Mum is Kosher to participate, so a Kohen Ba’al Mum would inspect to determine if any of the wood contained worms or ants in it; if they found a worm therein, the wood wasn’t used on the Mizbei’ach.
Asks the Sfas Emes, if a firewood, which is burnt and destroyed and is perhaps in the Beis HaMikdash for an hour or so, a wormhole is found in this wood, the wood is deemed Pasul. Yet for the Keresh, the wood that permanently formed the wall of the Mishkan, if there was a wormhole, it would be used? How could it be that a wormhole in firewood Pasuls, yet a wormhole in the wall of the Beis HaMikdash or Mishkan doesn’t?
The grandson of the Sfas Emes, the current Rosh Yeshiva in the Ge’er Beis Midrash Yerushalayim, in his Sefer Ivreh D’dasha, answers beautifully. The Mishkan is the Bayis; it represents the home. In life, there are moments of inspiration and those moments of inspiration of course are important. But then there’s the Timidius — the constant, the home. Every home is imperfect; nobody is perfect. In the consistency of life, in the things that a person does day by day, he knows that Nafal Bo Darna, sometimes a worm makes its way in, an imperfection. Your obligation is Lesosmo, to seal up whatever hole is made by this worm, by this imperfection. The Mishkan represents that mindset.
The firewood represents the Hislahavus, the moments of inspiration and growth, that Aish Hamizbei’ach Tukad Bo. Chassidim explain ‘Aish HaMizbei’ach’ – the firewood, ‘Tukad Bo’ – burns on the Mizbei’ach. That Aish HaMizbei’ach should also burn within each Jew. When a Jew gets a Bren, an inspiration, you’ve got to treasure it and use it correctly. Two connected ideas in proper Avodas Hashem.