The tabernacle (mishkan), first mentioned in the Torah in Exodus 25, was the portable sanctuary that the Israelites carried with them in the wilderness. Mishkan originates from the Hebrew root definition “to dwell”; the tabernacle was thought about to it is in the earthly dwelling ar of God. In Exodus 25:8-9, God instructs Moses come tell the Israelites to build a mikdash (sanctuary) wherein God may dwell, specifying specifically how the tabernacle should be designed.

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Whatthe Tabernacle Looked Like

The book of Exodus goes right into elaborate information to explain the design and construction that the tabernacle. The tabernacle was surrounding by a rectangle-shaped fence through a gate, i m sorry enclosed an outer courtyard area. One altar for charred offerings (sacrifices) stood in the courtyard. Deeper right into the courtyard, a display screen sectioned off the “Holy Place” indigenous the rest of the area. Even deeper, a curtain created a obstacle to the “most divine place,” the holy of Holies.


This innermost and most holy area the the tabernacle to be designated to house the ark that the covenant, the ar where the tablet computers of the law would be stored. The ark to be to it is in made that acacia wood and also overlaid through pure gold. The Torah provides specific measurements for structure the ark: “two and also a half cubits long, a cubit and also a fifty percent wide, and also a cubit and a fifty percent high” (Exodus 25:10). Acacia poles overlaid v gold were provided for transporting the ark with the desert. A cover because that the ark was required, with decorations of 2 gold cherubim (angels), one on each side, dealing with each other with outspread wings. Extr instructions encompass the manufacturing of routine items: a table, “bowls, ladles, jars, and also jugs,” and also an intricately draft six-branched menorah, or candelabra (Exodus 25:29-38).

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Exodus 26 details the construction of the tabernacle, which to be a tent-like structure extended with 10 strips the linen cloth. The towel was to it is in made the blue, purple, and also crimson yarn, through the cherubim motif indigenous the ark cover recurring here. The text goes top top to detail the exact variety of loops and also gold clasps through which each fabric should be tied to the next. It adds that 11 cloths that goat hair need to cover the tabernacle, linked by loops and also copper clasps. Further, lamb skins and dolphin skins were to be used as more covering because that the tabernacle.

The Tabernacle’s Significance

The tabernacle was thought about to be the ar where God’s existence dwelled amongst the Israelites, whereby the divine and also earthly worlds met. The tabernacle’s style physically represented a gradual increase in gradations that holiness, from the external courtyard (meant to produce a barrier from the profane realm) come the divine of Holies (only gone into once a year on Yom Kippur through the High Priest).

Various commentaries understood the meaning of the tabernacle in various ways. Maimonides witnessed the tabernacle as an image of a imperial palace.The Zohar, a mystical text thought to have actually been written in the 13th century, saw the tabernacle as a enjoy of the procedure of the development of the universe. Indeed, the Zohar point out out, the language provided to describe how God created the world in the book of Genesis is identical to the language supplied to explain the artist Bezalel’s structure of the tabernacle in the publication of Exodus.


The 19th-century Russian-Jewish commentator well-known as the Malbim provided a symbolic explanation for the relationship of the tabernacle. The was no that God required a physical sanctuary on earth, yet that each among us is dubbed to build a tabernacle for God in our hearts, prepare ourselves to become a sanctuary for God.

The portability that the tabernacle foreshadows the future motions of the Jewish civilization in exile, where they developed synagogues and also houses of study wherever lock migrated. The tabernacle likewise stands together a symbol of the paradox of divine presence in the world: ~ above the one hand, God is believed to be all over — or perhaps, as the Malbim argues, in human being hearts — however on the various other hand, the tabernacle (and later the holy place in Jerusalem and also synagogues throughout the world) represents a physical location where humans deserve to experience a connection to God.

The Tabernacle vs. The Temple

The holy Temple in Jerusalem, first built in 957 BCE by King Solomon, became the long-term sanctuary because that the Israelites to prayer God (until it was destroyed and also later rebuilt and also destroyed again). The tabernacle to be the portable sanctuary they supplied while wandering in the desert.

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Archaeological proof ofthe Tabernacle

In 2013, it was reported that possible evidence had actually been discovered of the tabernacle in the old city the Shiloh, in the West Bank. Excavators discovered feet hewn into rock that may have been used for propping up the wooden beams that the tabernacle. Previous research at the site had also found continues to be of probably sacrificed animals and evidence of shower pools where the High monk may have actually cleansed himself in ready to go into the tabernacle.

Further analysis on the Tabernacle

The tabernacle is questioned at numerous points in mine Jewish Learning’s Torah commentaries ~ above the following weekly Torah portions: