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EXODUS 40:2 – BE PATIENT

“On the first day of the first month you shall set up the Mishkan (Tabernacle) of the Tent of Meeting” (Exodus 40:2).

The construction of the Mishkan began after Moses came down with the second set of tablets, which was on the tenth day of the 7th month (Yom Kippur). Our sages teach that they were miraculously able to complete the construction in about 3 months. This would be around the 25th of Kislev, the date that would eventually be the holiday of Chanukah.

However, even though the construction of the Mishkan was completed in just three months, it was not erected until the first day of the first month – about three months after it was completed. Why the delay?

The Beer Yosef suggests that one of the purposes of the Mishkan was to address and correct the sin of the Golden Calf. What led to that catastrophe? Exodus 32:1 relates that the people became impatient with what they thought was Moses’ delay in coming down from the top of Mt. Sinai. Thinking he should have been back already, panic set in and they assumed he would never return. So, to replace him, they built the Golden Calf.

In delaying the setting up of the Tabernacle for 3 months, G-d wanted to teach the Children of Israel the importance of learning how to wait, of being patient. This would prove to be a vital lesson in light of the long time that we’d have to experience before the final redemption – may it come soon in our day!

By Rabbi Michael Skobac

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