In this Parsha we read a detailed description of the building of the Mishkan (Tabernacle). What is the general structure and purpose of it?




We should first realize that the structure of the Tabernacle includes deepest secrets and allusions. Covering this topic even partially would require multiple volumes of books. The Zohar alone takes almost a hundred pages to describe some of the secrets of the Mishkan and the Priestly Clothing. The very fact that the Torah spends four Parshios[1] on these issues can give us an understanding that the details described are of great importance. In our commentary we will only scratch the surface[2].


One of the primary goals of the Tabernacle was to administer the Temple service and to bring various korbonos (offerings). We will discuss the purpose of korbonos in Parshas Vayikra but for now we must realize that this word “korban” implies “closeness[3]”. The Miniature Temple our nation had built in the desert was designed to bring the Divine Presence into this world and ultimately to bring us closer to Hashem. It was made from materials donated by the entire nation and in a way united our people[4].


The Tabernacle was a miniature projection of the entire world just as each person is a small world. A careful study of the articles in the Tabernacle can show that indeed they corresponded to human organs and to the ten Sefiros[5]. Our body is generally divided into three parts: the top part (the head), the middle part (up to the diaphragm) and the lower part. The head is the most sensitive part of our body. The right hemisphere and the left hemisphere are two types of brain in our head corresponding to wisdom and understanding[6]. The middle part contains the heart and the breathing organs. The heart is the main organ of our body and corresponds to Tiferes – the main Sefirah of the lower seven. Two pipes come through the neck: windpipe and food pipe (esophagus). The wind pipe is on the right and brings the air into the lungs thus corresponding to Chesed. The food pipe is on the left and corresponds to Gevurah.


The lower part of the body contains the digestive system and the system for disposal of unused substances. The central organ there is the liver. Thus the three central organs of our bodies on the three levels are: the brain (moach), the heart (lev) and the liver (kaved)[7]. The general rule is: the higher parts of our bodies are more spiritually elevated, and the lower parts are more physical.   


Similarly the Mishkan had three levels of holiness[8]: The Holy of Holies, where the High Priest entered once a year on Yom Kippur; the Heichal (sanctuary), where only kohanim could enter for special services and the outside part, where the korbonos were slaughtered and burned. The Holy of Holies corresponded to the brain. It also had three main parts: the Aron (Arc), Kapores (its’ cover) and Keruvim (angels). The Heichal had a small altar, on which only beautifully smelling incense was burned. The Torah specifically forbids burning anything else on it. This corresponded to the middle part of the body, where the oxygen is processed. The Heichal also had a golden Menorah on the right and a table with twelve breads on the left. At last, the outside part had the big altar on which blood was sprinkled and fats were burned. This corresponded to the digestive tract. There was also a special washstand (Kiyor) and its’ base (Kano) used by kohanim to wash their hands.


Thus each of these three parts of Tabernacle contained three main items. The GR”A explains[9] that the nine items correspond to nine Sefiros, while the whole Tabernacle corresponds to the last Sefirah – Malchus. We thus have the following arrangement:


Keruvim (golden angels)



The scalp

Ark’s cover



Right brain




Left brain








Food pipe

Small Altar







Right kidney

Washstand’s base



Left kidney

Big Altar




The entire Tabernacle

with its’ enclosure



The entire body

An elaborate discussion of the Temple’s articles is beyond the scope of our commentary. However, those who have some knowledge of Kabala will be able to see much more in the above correspondences. When we deserve to see the coming of righteous Moshiach, and Temple service will be restored, we will again be receiving the Great Divine Flow coming from Hashem and His Blessing will rest on everything!


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[1] Truma, Tetzaveh, Vayakhel and Pekudey. The GR”A in Aderes Eliyahu (36:8) writes that the building of the Mishkan is described seven times in these Parshios corresponding to the seven lower Sefiros, in order to bring the Divine Presence from the seventh spiritual level down to earth. The three times that the donations for the Mishkan are mentioned correspond to the three higher Sefiros whose influence penetrates the lower ones.


[2] The Temple had to be built so precisely otherwise it would not fulfill its’ function. This can be loosely compared to a radio or a cell phone that is missing even one little wire. The whole device will then be dysfunctional. Similarly even one of the organs in our body that does not work properly can cause death. In the same way a missing detail in the Temple construction would make it unusable.


[3] As opposed to the usual translation “sacrifice” which actually implies the opposite: giving away something.


[4] This is also hinted by the verse (26:6): “And the Mishkan will become One”. See Ibn Ezra and GR”A on this verse.


[5] See our words to Parshas Bereyshis.


[6] There is also a third type of brain coming from the back of the head down the spine. This corresponds to Daas – an intermediate Sefirah that connects the higher three to the lower seven.

[7] The first three letters of these words are “Melech” – King. See Ben Ish Chai (Second year of learning, Achare Mos, 11) that it’s preferable not to eat these three organs from an animal so as not to mix the animal central organs and the spiritual energy they contain with the human ones.


[8] Note, that Noach’s arc also had three floors: one for people, one for animals, and one for disposing the waist (Talmud, Sanhedrin 108b).


[9] See Yahel Ohr on Zohar Chadash Shir Hashirim starting with words “Sinai Hu Peh”; GR”A to the fifth chapter of Sifra Detzniusa starting with words “Yehiu Rakia”; Aderes Eliyahu 25:8 and Beer Yitzchak there.