Lecture 86: The Mishkan - Model for the Mikdash in the Future Generations

  • Rav Yitzchak Levy

Mikdash

 

 

 

Lecture 86: The mishkan

model for the midkash in the future generations

 

Rav Yitzchak Levi

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

            Over the past three years, we have traced the history of the resting of the Shekhina from the time of the creation of the world until the end of the First Temple period.  Let us briefly survey what has been discussed thus far:

 

            The first year: After dealing with the consequences of the absence of the Mikdash and the various roles of the Mikdash, we discussed the resting of the Shekhina from the creation of the world until the patriarchs; the period of the patriarchs; the Song of the Sea; the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai; the issue of whether the building of the Mishkan was le-khatchila or only bedi'eved; and the dedication of the Mishkan.  To each issue we dedicated several shiurim.

 

            The second year: We tried to understand why the transition from altar and pillar to Mishkan was necessary.  We examined the prohibition of bamot and the various classes of people who ministered to God – the firstborns, the Levites and priests.  We investigated various aspects of the Mishkan at rest and in transit; we dealt with the issue of "the place that the Lord shall choose," with the idea that the tribal territory of Binyamin is the territory of the Shekhina, and with different aspects of the conquest of Israel, the stations of the Mishkan in Eretz Yisrael and the significance of each one.

 

            The third year: We examined different aspects of the resting of the Shekhina following Israel's entry into the land (Mount Eival, the assembly at Shekhem, the Giv'onim and the status of Bet-El and Mitzpeh).  We then studied the periods of David and Shelomo and their relationship to the Mikdash and its construction, and we continued to examine the attitude to the resting of the Shekhina until the end of the First Temple period.  Unfortunately, we were unable to deal with the periods of the return to Zion and the Second Temple.

 

            This year, we plan to deal with the physical structure of the Mishkan and the Mikdash.  In this framework, we will try to understand the spiritual meaning of the structure of the Mishkan by relating to its overall structure and internal division, the location of its various vessels, the materials of which it was constructed, and the directions.

 

            The underlying assumption of this year's lectures is that in addition to the practical and technical aspects (the Mishkan in the wilderness was temporary in its structure, materials, and location, and it was disassembled at each station), there is a basic correspondence between the structure of the Mishkan and the state of the people of Israel in that generation.  Accordingly, the structure of the Mishkan is not merely a practical issue, but rather reflects a certain spiritual reality.

 

THE COMMAND TO BUILD THE MISHKAN – FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS

 

            At first glance, the command to build the Mishkan was given in the context of the physical reality of the wilderness.  The construction materials and the various parts of the Mishkan matched the temporary conditions of the wilderness.  Moreover, the underlying assumption is that were it not for the sin of the spies, the people of Israel would have immediately entered into the land, and once in the land, they would have reached "the place that the Lord shall choose" and build there a permanent Temple.

 

            On the other hand, nowhere do we find a separate command to build a permanent Temple, and thus it follows that the command in Parashat Teruma regarding the Mishkan is the source for building the Temple.

 

            How can we reconcile this matter? When the First Temple is built, it has different dimensions than those of the Mishkan, with the addition of other vessels, and is not in accordance with the plan of the Mishkan.  Is it possible that the Torah alludes to the fact that even though the Mishkan is temporary, some aspects of it are eternal and everlasting? This may be one of the reasons that the command regarding the Mishkan is formulated: "And let them make Me a sanctuary (mikdash), that I may dwell among them" (Shemot 25:8) – Mikdash, and not Mishkan.  Is this perhaps an allusion to a permanent building?

 

            Fundamentally, we can divide this question into two:

 

1)     Why does the Torah describe in such painstaking detail the building of the Mishkan, which was meant for such a short period of time – until the people of Israel arrive in Eretz Yisrael?

 

2)     On the assumption that the term "Mikdash" refers to a permanent structure[1] and that the term "Mishkan" refers to a temporary one, why does the Torah formulate the command as "Let them make Me a Mikdash," rather than "Let them make Me a Mishkan"?

 

Regarding the first question, it may be argued that the Torah goes into such great detail in order to concretize the great novelty of erecting the Mishkan.  The very fact that the people of Israel are commanded to build an entire structure with all its various parts for the resting of the Shekhina (as opposed to an altar or pillar) is a great novelty, and therefore there is room to elaborate upon its details.  In this sense, the Mikdash constitutes a direct continuation of the Mishkan regarding everything connected to the resting of the Shekhina, and the novelty of the Mishkan continues afterwards in the Mikdash.  Similarly, the Mikdash continues to play all the important roles previously played by the Mishkan.

 

It is possible that this is why the Torah and Chazal describe the structure of the sanctuary using the terms "Mikdash" or "Bet Ha-Mikdash," which better symbolize the wholeness of the structure.

 

The Mishkan and the Mikdash

 

            As part of the answer to the questions raised above, we will now try to understand the connection between the Mishkan and the Mikdash and to examine the place of the Mishkan in relation to the Mikdash.

 

1.  The Ramban asserts (beginning of Hilkhot Bet Ha-Bechira):

 

It is a positive commandment to construct a house for God, prepared for offering sacrifices within, and where we celebrate three times a year.  As it is stated: "And let them make Me a sanctuary" (Shemot 25:8).  The sanctuary constructed by Moshe our Master is already described in the Torah.  It was only temporary, as it is stated: "For at present, you have not come unto [the resting place and the inheritance]" (Devarim 12:9).

After [the Jews] entered the Land [of Israel], they erected the Mishkan in Gilgal during the fourteen years in which they conquered and divided [the land].  From there, they came to Shilo, built a house of stone, and spread the curtains of the Mishkan over it.  It did not have a roof.  The sanctuary of Shilo stood for 369 years, and when Eli died, it was destroyed.  [Afterwards,] they came to Nov and built a Mikdash.  When Shmuel died, it was destroyed, and they came to Giv'on and built a Mikdash.  From Giv'on, they came to the eternal structure [in Jerusalem].  The days [the Mikdash stood] in Nov and Giv'on were 57 years.

Once the Mikdash was built in Jerusalem, it became forbidden to build a sanctuary for God or to offer sacrifices in any other place.  There is no sanctuary for all generations except in Jerusalem and [specifically] on Mount Moriah, regarding which it is stated: "And David declared, ‘This is the House of the Lord, God, and this is the altar for the burnt offerings of Israel’" (I Divrei Ha-yamim22:1) and it is stated: "This is My resting place forever" (Tehillim 132:14).  (Hilkhot Bet Ha-Bechira 1:1-3)

 

            The Rambam seems to relate to the verse in Parashat Teruma, "Let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them," as the source of the mitzva to build a Mishkan and a Mikdash.  According to him, the command does not relate exclusively to the building of the Mishkan in the wilderness, but rather to all the stations of the Mishkan in Eretz Yisrael and to the permanent Mikdash in the days of Shelomo on Mount Moriah.

 

            It should be noted that the Kesef Mishnah (ad loc.) points out that the Sefer Mitzvot Ha-Gadol (positive commandment 163) derives the mitzva to build the Mikdash from the verse, "But to the place which the Lord your God shall choose" (Devarim 12:5) – a mitzva whose time only arrived in the days of David.  It is possible that the Semag did not want to derive the mitzva from the verse in Parashat Teruma because he understood that this verse refers exclusively to the wilderness, in contrast to the verse in Parashat Re'eh, which clearly relates to the place that God shall choose in Eretz Yisrael.

 

            As stated above, however, the Rambam understands that the verse in Teruma relates to the permanent Mikdash as well.[2] Without going into the fine details of the definition of the mitzva, the Rambam says that the mitzva is to build a house for God.  The Mishkan was temporary, but it was certainly the beginning of the fulfillment of building a house for God.  It is certainly possible to understand the Rambam the way that the Or Ha-Chayyim understands the verses in Teruma:

 

"And let them make Me a sanctuary (Mikdash)." One must understand why He calls it a Mikdash, and then immediately retracts and calls it a Mishkan, as it is written: "The pattern of the Mishkan" (Shemot 25:9).  It seems that the statement, "And let them make Me a sanctuary," is a positive commandment for all times, both in the wilderness and after they enter the land, any time that Israel will be there in future generations.  Israel should have had to do this even in exile, only that we find that God forbade all [other] places once the Mikdash was built, as it is stated: "For you are not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance" (Devarim 12:9).  Therefore, He did not say, "And let them build [Me] a Mishkan," from which we might have understood that this mitzva was stated only for that time.  After He commanded in general terms, He mentioned the specific structure to be built in the wilderness - which is not a place to build a stone structure - that a Mishkan should be built as stated there.  You find that the Rambam wrote in chapter 1 of Hilkhot Bet Ha-Bechira: "It is a positive commandment to construct a house for God… As it is stated: 'And let them make Me a sanctuary.'" The basis for this is the change in wording, as we wrote above.

 

            Thus, there is a generalization followed by a specification.  The generalization is: "And let them make Me a Mikdash," and the specification is: "According to all that I show you, the pattern of the Mishkan, and the pattern of all its vessels, even so shall you make it." The Mishkan is an application of the generalization, i.e., the mitzva to build a sanctuary, and therefore the mitzva is to build a house for God, and the Mishkan is a fulfillment of this command.

 

2.  The Gemara in Sanhedrin (16b) asks what the source of the mishna's ruling that "additions may not be made to the city [of Jerusalem] or the [Temple] courtyards except by a court of seventy-one" is.  R. Shimi bar Chiyya answers that this law is derived from the verse: "According to all that I show you, the pattern of the tabernacle… even so shall you make it" – for the coming generations.

 

            Rashi explains (ad loc.):

 

"Even so shall you make it – for the coming generations" – Just as the Mishkan was established by Moshe, who stood in place of a Great Sanhedrin, so too in future generations by the Great Sanhedrin.

 

Once again we see a direct connection between the Mishkan and the Mikdash.  The gemara derives the law governing additions to the city of Jerusalem and the Temple courtyards from the command issued regarding the Mishkan.[3]

 

3.  Another point that characterizes the difference between the Mishkan and the Mikdash emerges from the words of the following midrash:

 

For we find regarding the Mishkan built by Moshe that no enemy took control of it and that its table was never overturned.  But as for the Mishkan built by Shelomo, an enemy took control of it and its table was overturned.  But regarding the final Mikdash that the Holy One, blessed be He, will build in the future, speedily and soon, it will never be rent and no enemy will take control of it, and the Holy One, blessed be He, will live in it forever and to all eternity.  (Tanna De-Rabbi Eliyahu, ch. 18)

 

            As opposed to the First Temple, the Mishkan was never destroyed, nor did an enemy ever take control of it, but rather it always remained whole.[4]

 

            The midrash notes that no enemy ever took control of the Mishkan built by Moshe.  It is reasonable to assume that the midrash is referring solely to the period of the wilderness, as the Mishkan in Shilo was destroyed in fire (see Tehillim 78:60-64; Yirmiyahu 7:14-15).

 

            Indeed, the Tosefta in Sota (13:1) asserts that: "After the first Temple was erected, the Tent of Meeting, its boards, clasps, pillars, and sockets were stored away, but nevertheless they used only the table and the candelabrum fashioned by Moshe."[5] That is to say, it is possible that the Mishkan itself was destroyed, but they continued to use its vessels in the Temple.

 

            The gemara in Sota adds:

 

After the first Temple was erected, the Tent of Meeting, its boards, clasps, bars, pillars, and sockets were stored away.  Where [were they stored]? R. Chisda said in the name of Avimi: Beneath the crypts of the Temple.  (9a)

 

That is to say, the original structure of the Mishkan was not destroyed, but rather it remained whole and was stored away under the crypts of the Temple.

 

            It is interesting that according to this understanding, the original Mishkan built by Moshe was in existence for 480 years.  It existed during all of the Mishkan's stations in Eretz Yisrael, and it was only after the First Temple was built that it was stored away whole under the crypts of the Temple.  There is, as it were, something eternal in the structure of the Mishkan that was stored away undamaged.  The first model of the resting of the Shekhina in the wilderness remained forever and was never destroyed.

 

4.  The Mishkan's superiority over the two Temples:

 

            R. Ovadya Seforno describes in several places the way in which the Mishkan was superior to the First and Second Temples:

 

[The Torah] tells us the virtues of this Mishkan, by which reason it was worthy to be everlasting and not to fall into the hands of the enemy.  First, because it was the "Tabernacle of Testimony," where the tablets of testimony were [deposited]; second, "as they were rendered according to the commandment of Moshe;" third, because it was through "the service of the Levites by the hand of Itamar,” for indeed the charge of all the parts of the Mishkan were in the hands of Itamar; fourth, "And Betzalel the son of Uri, the son of Chur, of the tribe of Yehuda made…," the leaders of the craftsmen of the Mishkan's work and its articles were noblemen and the righteous ones of the generation, and therefore the Shekhina rested on the work of their hands, and it did not fall into the hands of their enemies.  But the Temple of Shelomo [was built by] workers of the nations of the world, and although the Shekhina did rest there, its sections deteriorated and it was necessary to repair the breaches of the house, and eventually it all fell into the hands of the enemy.  (Seforno, Shemot 38:21-22)

 

All the gold - [The Torah] attests to, and defines the [quantity] of gold, silver and brass included in the work of the Mishkan, which was a very small amount, compared to the riches of the First Temple… and even more so were the riches of Herod's temple.  Nevertheless, the appearance of God's glory was more constantly found in the Mishkan of Moshe than in the First Temple and was not present at all in the Second Temple.  This teaches that it is not the amount of riches and the size of the structure which causes the Shekhina to dwell in Israel, but God desires those who fear Him and their deeds that He should dwell in their midst.  (Seforno, Shemot 38:24)

 

"And whenever the cloud went up" – The Shekhina was so [firmly] established in the Mishkan that it did not depart at all from there until Israel had to journey.  [Now] this was not so in Shilo, nor in the First Temple nor in the Second Temple.  But even more than this will be [manifested] in the Third Temple (may it be built and established speedily in our days), as it says: "For I, says the Lord, will be to her a wall of fire roundabout, and will be the glory in the midst of her" (Zekharya 2:9).  (ibid. 40:36)

 

            The Seforno describes here several special virtues of the Mishkan: The Mishkan was built exclusively by members of the people of Israel, and in particular by the righteous ones of the generation, and therefore it did not fall into the hands of Israel's enemies, as did the First and Second Temples; the paucity of riches in the Mishkan in comparison to the two Temples shows that the resting of the Shekhina depends upon actions, rather than superficial splendor; the resting of the Shekhina in the Mishkan was more constant than in the two Temples.

 

            Indeed, Scripture implies that, in contrast to the Temple, the Shekhina rested in the Mishkan even when the people of Israel sinned.  Thus, for example, when God wants to destroy the people of Israel following the sin of the spies, Moshe offers the following prayer:

 

Then Egypt shall hear it, for You did bring up this people in Your might from among them, and they will tell it to the inhabitants of the land, who have heard that You Lord are among this people, that You Lord are seen face to face and that Your cloud stands over them and that You go before them, by day time in a pillar of cloud and in a pillar of fire by night.  Now if You shall kill all this people as one man, then the nations which have heard the fame of You will speak, saying, “Because the Lord was not able to bring this people into the land which He swore to them, therefore He has slain them in the wilderness.” (Bamidbar 14:13-16)

 

            And Rashi explains there:

 

… Because they have heard that You, O Lord, dwell in their midst and that You appear to them face to face and all this is in an affectionate manner, and they have not perceived of You that Your love has been detached from them until now.  (s.v. ve-amru)

 

            Indeed, in contrast to God's revelation to Moshe, which ceased during Israel's thirty-eight year journey in the wilderness owing to the people's sins (see Ibn Ezra on Bamidbar 20:1, s.v. ba-chodesh ha-rishon), we do not find any change in the resting of God's Shekhina in the Mishkan in the wake of the sin of the spies or any other sin.[6] While the resting of the Shekhina in the Mikdash was conditioned on the deeds of Israel (as was explicitly told to Shelomo following his dedication of the Temple; see I Melakhim 6:11-13; 9:2-9), from the time of the Mishkan's dedication in the second year after Israel's exodus from Egypt and until its erection in Gilgal, there was no change in the Shekhina's resting in it in fire and cloud.

 

            It appears that precisely because the Mishkan was intended for a limited and well-defined period of time – the period of Israel's journey in the wilderness until their entry into the land and the building of the Mikdash – the Shekhina's resting in it was unconditional.  This stands in contrast to the resting of the Shekhina in the Mikdash, which was permanent, and therefore conditioned on observance of the Torah and mitzvot.

 

The superiority of the Mishkan

 

            From the various examples brought here, we see that in a certain sense the Mishkan was superior to the Mikdash.  What is the root of this superiority?

 

            First of all, this superiority seems to be connected to the fact that during Israel's sojourn in the wilderness, God dwells among Israel in a tent and in a cloud in great proximity.

 

            This superiority seems also to be connected to the newness of the bond between God and the people of Israel.  The great importance of the Mishkan stems from the very connection to God, from the unmediated encounter that finds expression in a structure in which the Shekhina rests, independent of a particular place (as it were, above the confines of matter and place).[7]

 

            From this perspective, we have here a sort of perpetuation for later generations of the revelation at Mount Sinai which continued in the Mishkan.  As is well-known, some Rishonim (Ramban, Ibn Ezra) see the Mishkan as the direct continuation of the revelation at Mount Sinai.  The uniqueness of the Mishkan in the camp of Israel lies first and foremost in the perpetuation of the presence of the Shekhina among the people of Israel during their journeys as a direct continuation of the one-time revelation in the sight of all of Israel at Mount Sinai.

 

THe Mishkan – fundamental model of the future temples[8]

 

            As we have seen, there are certainly fundamental differences between the Mishkan and the Mikdash,[9] but from certain perspectives – the most fundamental ones – the Mishkan continues to exist in the Temple that followed it.

 

            The differences between the Mishkan and the Mikdash include the following:

 

  • The Mishkan has no permanent location and it is portable and collapsible, as opposed to the Mikdash which stood on Mount Moriah.

 

  • Difference in materials: The materials out of which the Mishkan was constructed are clearly suited for desert conditions (curtains, shittim wood), as opposed to the permanent Mikdash.

 

  • Difference in the nature of the structure: The curtains give the structure the nature of a tent which entirely corresponds to the housing form found in the desert, as opposed to the permanent structure on Mount Moriah (there are also differences in the details – for example, the addition of the entrance hall and porches in the first Temple).

 

  • Difference in dimensions: The Mishkan was much smaller than the two Temples that followed after it.

 

  • The encampment of all the tribes around the Mishkan, like the encampment of the Israelites around the camp of the Levites and the camp of the priests, gave the presence of the Shekhina great centrality in the everyday life of the people of Israel in the wilderness.  All these differences have great significance, as we shall see later.

 

In its most fundamental aspects, however, the Mishkan continues to exist in the Temples that came in its place:

 

  • The primary roles of the Mishkan – resting of the Shekhina, site for encounter between God and man and for man's service of God – continue.

 

  • Even if their dimensions were different, the two structures were very similar in general form: A courtyard in which there stood a structure with a square inner room, and attached to it a rectangular room twice its size.

 

  • The proportions of the dimensions of the two structures were identical.

 

  • The location and function of the various vessels were the same.

 

  • The basic direction of the entranceway from east to west was the same.

 

The similarities and the differences are clear; they teach us that in a certain sense, all the Temples that came after the Mishkan (from Shilo, to the First, Second, and future Temples) embraced the structure and essence of the Mishkan.

 

SUMMARY

 

            In this lecture, we tried to show that even though the Mishkan served for a shorter period of time, it constituted the basic model of the Temples that came after it.  Already the Mishkan that was built by Moshe with the help of Betzalel and Oholiav expressed the primal connection between God and the people of Israel.

 

The midrash describes the resting of the Shekhina in the Mishkan as a completion of the creation of the world:

 

"And it came to pass on the day that Moshe had finished setting up the Mishkan" (Bamidbar 7:1).  Our Rabbis taught: The world stands on three principles: Torah, service and lovingkindness.

"You have guided them in Your strength" (Shemot 15:13) – this is the Torah, which is called "strength," as it is stated: "The Lord will give strength to His people" (Tehillim 119:165).  ("To Your holy habitation" [Shemot, ibid.] – this is the service of the Mishkan and the Mikdash.) To what may this be compared at that time? To a chair with two legs that cannot stand.  Once the Mishkan stood, the world stood on firm foundations.  As it is stated: "And it came to pass on the day that Moshe had finished setting up the Mishkan." It does not say "ha-Mishkan," but rather "et ha-Mishkan" – to add the creation of the world which is called a tent.  As it is stated: "That stretches out the heavens as a curtain, and spreads them out as a tent to dwell in" (Yeshayahu 40:22).

… "Who has established all the ends of the earth" (Mishlei 30:4).  Did Moshe establish all the ends of the earth? Rather he established the Tent of Meeting, with which the world was established.  It is not written here "le-hakim ha-Mishkan," but rather "le-hakim et ha-Mishkan" – another tabernacle was established with it that is called a tent just as the Mishkan is called the Tent of Meeting, as it is stated: "And spreads them out as a tent to dwell in" – for until the Mishkan was set up, the world shook, but after the Mishkan was set up, the world became firmly founded.  Therefore it says: "le-hakim et ha-Mishkan." (Tanchuma Parashat Nasa)

 

            These two midrashim illustrate how the establishment of the Mishkan completed the creation of the world, which was then set on firm foundations.  In this sense, God's very connection to the world has an eternal dimension, above time and place.  God's revelation in the Mishkan took place after the Torah was given at Sinai, and as part of its perpetuation, but in its essence we are dealing with a new revelation, a new form of the presence of the Shekhina in the world that did not exist beforehand and that apparently continues to exist even in a state of sin.

 

            In certain senses, then, it is precisely the Mishkan's lack of permanence and the temporariness of its collapsible structure that express a higher, more spiritual dimension connected in its nature and essence to God's revelation in the wilderness, the beginning of the bond between God and the people of Israel.

 

I remember in your favor the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, when you did go after Me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown.  (Yirmiyahu 2:2)

 

            In the next lecture, we will try to understand how it was possible to change what was found in the Mishkan in the Temples that came after it, and in what sense the Mikdash expresses the spiritual reality of the people of Israel at that time.

 

(Translated by David Strauss)



[1] There is no proof to this assumption.  It is not at all obvious, based on the plain sense of the verses, that the word "Mikdash" refers to a permanent structure, whereas the word "Mishkan" refers to a temporary one.  Regarding the word "Mishkan," God says to Natan the prophet (II Shmuel 7:6): "For I have not dwelt in any house since that time that I brought up the children of Isarel out of Egypt, even to this day, but I have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle (Mishkan)." Scripture presents a tent as parallel to a tabernacle, both of them standing in contrast to a house, and it is very clear that a tabernacle is temporary, as opposed to a house that is permanent.

I thank Rav Chanokh Gamliel, from whom I learned this point.  It is still impossible to prove from here anything about the term "Mikdash" – whether it denotes a permament structure or not.

[2] The Rambam mentions the verse in Parashat Re'eh, "There you shall seek Him, at His dwelling, and there shall you come," in Hilkhot Melakhim 1:1, in connection with the rule that the appointment of a king precedes the wiping out of Amalek and the building of the Mikdash. 

[3] It should be noted that the gemara speaks of a change, an addition to the area of the Mikdash (regarding the expansion of the Temple courtyards).  According to this understanding, the possibility of change, in this case expansion, is sanctioned by the original command, "even so shall you make it."

[4] It is interesting that the midrash uses the term "Mishkan" in reference to Shelomo's Temple.  On the other hand, it is only the future Temple that is called a Mikdash, a term that without a doubt alludes to permanence.

[5] This distinction between the structure of the Mishkan and the vessels is very interesting.  The structure was buried, whereas the vessels continued to be used.  It is interesting that no mention is made here of the ark, the incense altar, or the whole-burnt offering altar.  We will examine later whether a distinction can be made between the structure and the vessels.

[6] The Seforno notes in several places that in the wake of Israel's sins they had to bring additional sacrifices.  That is to say, there was no change in the resting of the Shekhina; what changed were the preparations required of Israel in order to be worthy of the Shekhina.  This is a broad topic, connected to the Seforno's whole understanding of the Mishkan, and we cannot expand upon it in this framework. 

[7] It is possible to see a temporary and collapsible structure that has no hold on a particular place as a disadvantage.  On the other hand, it is possible to view it differently.  A structure that is not anchored in a particular place is in a certain sence more spiritual than a structure permanently anchored in one spot.  This point is in a certain sense reminiscent of the relationship between the revelation at Mount Sinai in contrast to the revelation at Mount Moriah, an issue that we discussed at length in the shiur dealing with the transition from Mount Sinai to Mount Moriah.  One of the ramifications of this issue is the sanctity of the site of the Mishkan (which does not exist for future generations at the various stations of the Mishkan) as opposed to Mount Moriah.

[8] It is not our intention to conduct a comprehensive distinction or comparison between the Mishkan and the Mikdash, but rather to point out the differences between them in general terms, and from them to demonstrate the essential similarity between them.

[9] We shall discuss these when we reach the transition from Mishkan to Mikdash.

uot;; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;mso-fareast-language:EN-US">[2] Without going into the fine details of the definition of the mitzva, the Rambam says that the mitzva is to build a house for God.  The Mishkan was temporary, but it was certainly the beginning of the fulfillment of building a house for God.  It is certainly possible to understand the Rambam the way that the Or Ha-Chayyim understands the verses in Teruma:

 

"And let them make Me a sanctuary (Mikdash)." One must understand why He calls it a Mikdash, and then immediately retracts and calls it a Mishkan, as it is written: "The pattern of the Mishkan" (Shemot 25:9).  It seems that the statement, "And let them make Me a sanctuary," is a positive commandment for all times, both in the wilderness and after they enter the land, any time that Israel will be there in future generations.  Israel should have had to do this even in exile, only that we find that God forbade all [other] places once the Mikdash was built, as it is stated: "For you are not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance" (Devarim 12:9).  Therefore, He did not say, "And let them build [Me] a Mishkan," from which we might have understood that this mitzva was stated only for that time.  After He commanded in general terms, He mentioned the specific structure to be built in the wilderness - which is not a place to build a stone structure - that a Mishkan should be built as stated there.  You find that the Rambam wrote in chapter 1 of Hilkhot Bet Ha-Bechira: "It is a positive commandment to construct a house for God… As it is stated: 'And let them make Me a sanctuary.'" The basis for this is the change in wording, as we wrote above.

 

            Thus, there is a generalization followed by a specification.  The generalization is: "And let them make Me a Mikdash," and the specification is: "According to all that I show you, the pattern of the Mishkan, and the pattern of all its vessels, even so shall you make it." The Mishkan is an application of the generalization, i.e., the mitzva to build a sanctuary, and therefore the mitzva is to build a house for God, and the Mishkan is a fulfillment of this command.