25:1 God's plan for making the world into His true home included, from the beginning, the establishment of a central location where this ideal could be expressed and which would serve as a locus for the processes through which the people would sanctify both themselves and the world. This permanent location of this locus was to be the Temple in Jerusalem; while the people were still in the desert, it would consist of a portable complex—the Tabernacle, its surrounding Courtyard, and the specific furnishings to be positioned in it and in the Courtyard.
It will be recounted later that the people miscalculated the forty days that Moses had said he would remain on the mountain and that this led them to assume he had perished there. This, in turn, led them to commit the sin of the Golden Calf, after which Moses broke the tablets on which the Ten Commandments were written. After this sin, Moses had to ascend Mount Sinai again, intercede with God on the people's behalf, and reinstate the relationship that had been forged at the Revelation and that had been abrogated by the sin. As was mentioned before, there were two aspects to this relationship: the rational, contractual aspect and the essential, covenantal aspect. God indicated His restoration of the contractual side of the relationship by replacing the broken tablets and the commandments inscribed on them. He indicated His restoration of the covenantal side of the relationship by allowing the people to build the Tabernacle, so His presence could indeed dwell among them. The Torah therefore gives the details of the Tabernacle and its operation here, deferring the account of the sin of the Golden Calf and the subsequent reconciliation until later on, in order to first complete its description of both aspects of the bond between God and the people that was established at Mount Sinai.
Thus, as part of His reconciliation with the people, God spoke to Moses, saying:
2 "I have forgiven the people the sin of the Golden Calf, and will allow them to resume their task of sanctifying reality. To this end, I will allow them to build the Tabernacle so that My presence can dwell among them. Since the Tabernacle will thus serve the people, they must donate the materials from which the artisans will fashion both the Tabernacle and the garments of the priests who will officiate in it. Therefore, speak to the Israelites and have the treasurers take materials the people donate for this purpose from their personal belongings as a contribution for Me. I am only asking the people to donate materials that they already possess and are readily at hand. But when they designate and donate these materials, they must dedicate them specifically to God—in order to rectify the way they contributed their possession freely to make the Golden Calf. Tell the treasurers: 'You shall take the contribution for Me from every man whose heart prompts him to give. Women are exempt from these donations—since they did not sin at the incident of the Golden Calf—but they may contribute if they wish. No specific amount is required from each person, with the exception that each adult male is to give a half-shekel of silver now, for the construction of the bases under the planks and the hooks and bands for the pillars, and a half-shekel annually, for the purchase of the communal offerings.
3 The following materials constitute the contribution that you shall take from them: gold, silver, and copper, of which they have plenty from the spoils of Egypt and the Sea of Reeds;
4 wool dyed turquoise with the blood of a sea creature called the chilazon, wool dyed purple, and wool dyed scarlet, from the wool of their flocks; linen, of which there is an abundance in Egypt and which they took when they left; goat hair
5 and red-dyed ram skins from their flocks; skins of the tachash, an animal with a multi-colored hide that they will find here in the desert; acacia wood, which Jacob foresaw they would need and told them to take with them when they left Egypt;
6 olive oil, which you took with you from Egypt and which is to be used for illumination in the Candelabrum; and spices for the anointing oil—used to anoint the Tabernacle, its furnishings, and the priests—and for the incense offering;
7 and onyx stones and inset stones; the onyx stones for the Ephod and the inset stones for the Breastplate, which are two of the high priest's garments that will be described later on.'
8 They shall make Me a sanctuary from these materials; when they do so they must specifically intend thereby to infuse holiness into these materials. The purpose of the sanctuary is so that I may dwell in their midst.
9 They must make this dwelling, or Tabernacle, according to all that I am showing you here, on Mount Sinai—i.e., the form of the Tabernacle and the form of all its furnishings. You, yourself, however, will not actually make any part of the Tabernacle or its furnishings. And so shall you, i.e., the community, make replacements for these furnishings, if necessary, and similar furnishings for the permanent Temple that will eventually be constructed in the Land of Israel.
10 "They shall make an Ark of acacia wood, two and a half cubits long, one and a half cubits wide, and one and a half cubits high. It shall have no legs, but rest directly on the ground.
11 You shall have them overlay it with pure gold: you shall have them overlay it inside and out by making two golden boxes, one slightly larger and one slightly smaller than the wooden ark, and placing the wooden ark in between them (see Figure 1). Have them make the outer, golden chest a handbreadth higher than the other two chests, in order to enclose the Cover that will be placed upon them (see Figure 2). In addition, upon the outer, golden chest you shall have them make a decorative gold rim all around. This rim will signify the dignity that is due scholars of the Torah, for the Ark will house the tablets of the Torah.
Figure 1: The Ark: three open boxes (note: 1 cubit = 6 handbreadths [h]).
12 You shall have them cast four gold rings for the Ark and place them on its four corners, two rings on one side and two rings on the other side.
13 You shall have them make rods of acacia wood and overlay them with gold.
14 You shall have them insert the rods through the rings on the sides of the Ark, so that the Ark can be carried with them (see Figure 3).
Figure 3: The rings and poles of the Ark
15 The rods shall remain in the rings of the Ark; they may not be removed from it, even when the Ark is not being carried.
16 And in the Ark you shall place the Tablets of the Testimony that I will give you. The tablets are called 'Tablets of the Testimony' since they bear witness that I have commanded you all that is written on them.
The Cover of the Ark
Second Reading 17 "You shall have them make for the Ark a Cover of pure gold, two and a half cubits long, one and a half cubits wide—these being the outer dimensions of the wooden Ark—and one handbreadth thick. Since it will be so heavy, it will require more than one person to lift it and place it on top of the Ark.
18 You shall have them make two golden cherubim: statuettes of angels with infant faces and wings. You shall have them make them by hammering them out of the two ends of the Cover. Do not let them make the cherubim out of a separate piece of gold and then attach them to the Cover.
19 Have them make one cherub from one end and one cherub from the other end; you shall have them make the cherubim from the Cover itself, at its two ends. The cherubim shall be ten handbreadths tall.
20 The cherubim shall have their wings spread aloft to the level of their heads, so that their wings shield the Cover, ten handbreadths above it. They shall face one another, the faces of the cherubim being inclined downward towards the Cover (see Figure 4).
21 You shall have them place the Cover on top of the Ark, having placed in the Ark the Tablets of Testimony that I will give you.
22 This Cover is not just an accessory of the ark, but has its own, distinct purpose: I will convene with you there: I will speak to you from above the Cover. Even though you will be standing on the opposite side of the partitioning Curtain between the inner and outer chambers of the Tabernacle, My voice will issue from between the two cherubim that are on the Ark of Testimony and you will hear it where you will be standing. In this way I shall convey to you everything that I shall command you concerning the Israelites.
23 "You shall have them make a Table of acacia wood, two cubits long, one cubit wide, and one and a half cubits high, this including the length of its legs and the thickness of the board.
24 You shall have them overlay it with pure gold, and you shall have them make a decorative gold rim for it all around. This rim will signify the dignity that is due the office of the Jewish leader—which will eventually be vested in the king.
25 You shall have them make a frame for it all around, one handbreadth wide. This frame shall either rest on top of the table board or connect the legs underneath the board (see Figure 5). You shall have them make a gold rim—the same gold rim spoken of in the previous verse—to attach to the Table's frame all around.
Figure 5a: The Table and its frame - first opinion
Figure 5b: The Table and its frame - second opinion
26 You shall have them make four gold rings for the Table, and you shall have them place the rings on the four corners of its four legs.
27 The rings shall be close to the frame, as holders for the rods with which the Table is carried.
28 You shall have them make the rods of acacia wood and overlay them with gold, and the Table will be carried with them.
29 The purpose of the Table will be to hold twelve loaves of special, unleavened bread. This bread is to be baked by forming a rectangle of dough five handbreadths by ten handbreadths and attaching four cubes of dough at this rectangle's four corners. The lengthwise ends of the rectangle are then to be folded over so that the two sets of two cubes of dough are facing each other; it is therefore called 'showbread' (see Figure 6). The twelve loaves will be baked in iron forms and placed on gold forms on the Table (see Figure 7). There will be two stacks of loaves in gold forms; the bottom gold form of each stack will rest directly on the table; the other five gold forms will rest on shelving half-tubes, which in turn will rest on supporting frames. Thus, the weight of the upper loaves and forms will not bear down on the lower ones (see Figure 21). In between the two stacks of bread loaves will be placed two spoons full of frankincense (see Figure 8). Thus, you shall have the artisans make its bread-forms, its spoons for the frankincense, its shelving tubes with which the bread will be covered, and its supporting frames for the tubes; all these you shall have them make of pure gold.
Figure 6: The shoebread: A. The dough; B. Four "horns" added; C. Folded over; D. Folded over - perspective.
Figure 7: The forms of the showbread
Figure 8a: Supporting frames and shelving tubes of the Table.
Figure 8b-c: The showbread resting on the frames and tubes: length (left) and width (right).
Figure 9: The table with the showbread.
New loaves of showbread are to be baked every Friday and placed on the Table on the Sabbath
, where they will remain until the following Sabbath, when they will be replaced by a newly-baked set of loaves. In this fashion, you shall
have them place showbread on the Table
such that it will remain before Me at all times.
After the loaves have been replaced, two spoonfuls of frankincense are to be burned on the copper altar and the old loaves—miraculously still fresh—are to be eaten by the priests.
Third Reading 31 "You shall make a Candelabrum of pure gold. The Candelabrum shall be formed as if by hammering: its box-shaped, three-legged base, its stem, its decorative goblets, its apple-shaped spheres, and its flowers shall all be an integral part of the same ingot of gold. Do not make them from a separate piece of gold and then attach them.
32 The Candelabrum is to be eighteen handbreadths tall (see Figure 23). Six branches shall extend diagonally from out of the two sides, three branches of the Candelabrum on one side of it and three branches of the Candelabrum on its other side. The branches shall extend out of them main stem at the ninth, eleventh, and thirteenth handbreadth from the floor. They shall extend upwards to the height of the middle stem.
33 There shall be three engraved goblets, as well as a sphere and a flower, on the upper three handbreadths of one branch, and three engraved goblets, as well as a sphere and a flower, on the upper three handbreadths of the next branch; the same shall apply to all six branches extending from the stem of the Candelabrum.
34 On the stem of the Candelabrum there shall be four goblets: three in the upper three handbreadths, similar to the other six branches, and one in the sixth handbreadth from the floor, below the point where the branches begin to extend from the stem. The two spheres and flowers of the stem shall both be engraved. One sphere and one flower will be situated in the upper three handbreadths of the stem, similar to the other six branches, and the second sphere and flower will be situated next to the goblet at the sixth handbreadth. In addition, there will be one flower just above the base. The base, its legs, and this flower together shall be three handbreadths tall.
35 Besides the spheres just mentioned, there shall be one sphere situated on the stem below the first two branches—that is, at the point on the stem where the branches extend from it; another sphere shall be situated below the next two branches—that is, at the point on the stem where they extend from it; and a third sphere shall be situated below the last two branches—that is, at the point on the stem where they extend from it. These three spheres will thus serve as base-points for all the six branches extending from the stem of the Candelabrum.
36 There will thus be 22 goblets, 11 spheres, and 9 flowers on the Candelabrum. Its spheres and branches shall be an integral part of the Candelabrum; it shall all be hammered out of a single ingot of pure gold.
Figure 10: The Candelabrum
37 You shall make seven lamps for it separately; these lamps will not be hammered out of the same single ingot of gold. Fashion these lamps such that when the officiating priest kindles its lamps, they will shine towards its center.
38 Its tongs
Figure 11: The untensils of the Candelabrum: A. Stone steps; B. Wick tongs; C. Ash scopops; D. Pitcher for oil; E. Tray for utensils.
, used for positioning the wicks and removing them after they have been used, and its scoops
, used for raking out the ashes left after the wicks burn out, shall
also be made of pure gold.
39 He shall make it, together with all these utensils—but not its lamps—out of one talent (about 48 kilograms or 106 pounds) of pure gold."
40 Moses did not understand all the details of the instructions how to make the Candelabrum, so God showed him the image of a fiery Candelabrum and its utensils. He then told him, "Observe their forms that you are being shown on the mountain, and make them in that manner." But it was still too complicated for Moses to envision, so God told him he would be able to simply throw the gold into the fire and it would assume the proper form.
26:1 God then gave Moses instructions concerning the coverings that formed the roof and external wall-coverings of the Tabernacle: "You shall have them make the first cover of the Tabernacle out of ten tapestries. These tapestries will be woven out of threads composed of 24 strands: six strands of linen twined together, six strands of turquoise wool twined together, six strands of purple wool twined together, and six strands of scarlet wool twined together. You shall have them make them with a woven design of cherubs. These cherubs will have the appearance of eagles on one side of the tapestries and of lions on the other.
2 The length of each tapestry shall be twenty-eight cubits and the width of each tapestry shall be four cubits, all the tapestries being of the same size.
3 Five tapestries shall be attached to one another by sewing, and the other five shall likewise be attached to one another by sewing. Thus, there will be two sets of tapestries, each set measuring twenty-eight cubits by twenty cubits (see Figure 12).
4 You shall have them make loops of turquoise wool along the edge of the tapestry at the end of the first set, and you shall have them do the same along the edge of the endmost tapestry of the second set.
5 You shall have them make fifty loops on the one tapestry, and you shall have them make fifty loops along the edge of the tapestry of the second set, each loop being exactly opposite its counterpart.
6 You shall have them make fifty golden clasps, and you shall join the two sets of tapestries to each other with the clasps (see Figure 13), so that the cover of the Tabernacle will become one (see Figure 14).
The two sets of joined tapestries will thus be 28 cubits wide and 40 cubits long. As will be explained further, the Tabernacle itself is 12 cubits wide, 32 cubits long, and 10 cubits high. Thus, when you spread this cover over the Tabernacle, leaving the front entrance uncovered, its width will cover the 12 cubits of the Tabernacle's width and the top eight cubits of the outside of each side wall. Its length will cover the 32 cubits of the Tabernacle's length and the top eight cubits of the outside of the back wall (see Figure 15). The loops and clasps will be on the underside of the tapestries, visible from inside the Tabernacle.
Figure 15a:How the tapestries covered the Tabernacle - side view.
Figure 15b-c: How the tapestries covered the Tabernacle - front perspective (top) and rear perspective (bottom)
7 For the second cover, you shall have them make sheets of goat hair as a Tent to spread over the tapestries that form the first cover of the Tabernacle; you shall have them make not ten, as was the case with the tapestries, but eleven such sheets.
8 The length of each sheet shall be thirty cubits and the width of each sheet shall be four cubits, all eleven sheets being of the same size.
9 You shall have the artisans attach five of the sheets by themselves by sewing, making a set 30 cubits long and 20 cubits wide, and attach the other six sheets by themselves by sewing, making a set 30 cubits long and 24 cubits wide (see Figure 16).
Figure 16: The two sets of sheets of goat hair.
When you spread the goat hair cover over the Tabernacle, you shall fold
half of the sixth sheet
of this second set—that is, two cubits of this cover—over the front of the Tent
—that is, the Tabernacle—as will be explained presently.
10 You shall have the artisans make fifty loops of goat hair along the edge of the endmost sheet of the first set, and fifty loops of goat hair along the edge of the endmost sheet of the second set.
11 You shall
Figure 17: The loops and clasps for the sheets of goat hair.
have them make fifty copper clasps, and you shall
have them insert the clasps into the loops
(see Figure 17),
thus coupling the
goat hair Tent together and making it one
cover, 30 cubits wide and 44 cubits long (see Figure 18). Of these 44 cubits, 32 will cover the Tabernacle's length, two will hang over the front entrance, as just stated, and 10 will cover the back wall completely. The loops and clasps will be on the topside of the sheets.
Figure 18: The sheets of goat hair joined into one cover.
12 Thus, with regard to the overlapping remainder of the sheets of the goat hair Tent in excess of the tapestries, one extra half sheet shall overhang the entrance of the Tabernacle and the other extra half sheet shall overhang beyond the tapestries covering over the back of the Tabernacle.
13 As for the extra two cubits in the width of this cover, beyond the width of the tapestries, the extra cubit at either end of the length of the sheets of the goat hair Tent shall hang down over the two sides of the lower cover of the Tabernacle, to cover it. Thus, the back of the Tabernacle will be completely covered, while a cubit at the bottom of the sidewalls will remain exposed (see Figure 19). Since the tapestries are more expensive and intricate than the goat hair cover, the former will be hidden by the latter.
Figure 19: How the sheets of goat hair covered the Tabernacle - perspective (top) and side view (bottom)..
14 You shall also have them make a third cover, to act as a roof over the goat hair Tent, out of red-dyed ram skins. It shall measure 30 by 10 cubits, and thus just cover the top of the Tabernacle, not the sides. In addition, have them also make a fourth cover, a roof of tachash skins above the roof of ram skins. It shall also measure 30 by 10 cubits. The tachash skins are to be placed highest because they are the most beautiful of all the skins, and because their beauty is intrinsic to the hide rather than added to it by dying." According to another opinion, however, the ram skins and tachash skins were combined into one roof-cover (Figure 20).
Figure 20a-b: The roof of red rams' skins and tachash skins - first opinion (top) and second opinion (bottom).
Fourth Reading 15 God then gave Moses the instructions for constructing the Tabernacle building itself. "You shall have the artisans make the planks for the Tabernacle out of the planks of acacia wood you brought from Egypt. These planks shall be placed vertically, side-by-side, to form the three walls of the Tabernacle.
16 The length of each plank shall be ten cubits, and thus the height of the Tabernacle will be ten cubits. The width of each plank shall be one and a half cubits and the breadth of each will be one cubit.
Figure 21: A plank and its tenons: A. perspective; B. width; C. breadth.
17 Have the artisans whittle the bottom of each plank so as to leave two tenons, each one cubit long, half a cubit wide, and a quarter of a cubit broad, parallel to each other; you shall have them do the same for all the planks of the Tabernacle. Have them leave half of a cubit between the two tenons of each plank (Figure 21).
18 You shall have them make the following number of planks for the Tabernacle: twenty planks for the southern side. The length of the Tabernacle will thus be 30 cubits, since each plank is a cubit and a half wide.
19 You shall have them make forty silver bases, each one cubit tall, one cubit wide, and a cubit and a half thick. These 40 bases will be placed under the twenty planks, two bases under one plank. Each base will be hollowed out to accommodate the two tenons protruding from the plank above it. Similarly, there will be two bases under each following plank, each base hollowed out to accommodate the two tenons protruding from the plank above it (Figure 22).
Figure 22: The bases and the tenons: A. The bases; B. How the tenons fit into the bases.
20 For the second side of the Tabernacle, to the north, there shall likewise be twenty planks
21 with their forty silver bases: two bases under one plank, and two bases under each following plank.
22 For the back of the Tabernacle, to the west, you shall have them make six planks, each of whose one-and-a-half-cubit width will be fully exposed inside the Tabernacle,
23 and you shall have them make another two planks for the back corners of the Tabernacle. One cubit of each of these corner planks will be covered by the breadth of the planks forming the northern and southern walls, and therefore only a half a cubit of each corner plank will be exposed inside the Tabernacle. Thus, the inside width of the Tabernacle will be 10 cubits (see Figure 23).
Figure 23. The walls of the Tabernacle (top view).
24 All the planks shall be flush against each other at the bottom. This shall be accomplished by shaving the perimeter of the lower cubit of each plank so that its tenons fit snugly into the bases underneath them, and thus the outsides of the bases will be flush with the planks and the planks flush against each other. The planks shall also be flush against each other at the top. This shall be accomplished by notching the tops of the planks so that every pair of adjoining planks can be fitted together into a square ring (Figure 24). This shall also be done with the two planks on the two corners (see Figure 25).
Figure 25: The corner rings and notches: A. perspective; B. top view.
25 Thus, on the west side, there will be a total of eight planks with their silver bases—sixteen bases: two bases under one plank, and two bases under each following plank.
26 As for how these planks will be held together, you shall have them make crossbars out of acacia wood: five for the planks of one long side of the Tabernacle,
27 five crossbars for the planks of the other long side of the Tabernacle, and five crossbars for the planks of the back wall of the Tabernacle, to the west. Have them make four of each wall's crossbars half as long as the wall, and one crossbar the wall's full length (see Figure 26). Two of the half-length crossbars will traverse the wall at a height of seven and a half cubits, and the other two half-length crossbars will traverse the wall at a height of two and a half cubits. The full-length crossbar will traverse the wall at the wall's mid height, i.e., five cubits from the ground.
Figure 27: The full-length crossbar
full-length crossbar at
the wall's mid height shall penetrate
holes drilled through the planks, from one end
of the Tabernacle to the other
29 You shall have the artisans overlay the planks with gold. The half-length crossbars, unlike the full-length crossbar, will be affixed to the planks externally, on the outside perimeter of the walls: You shall have the artisans make gold rings for the planks, affixed to their outer surface, to hold the half-length crossbars at the correct height, and gold tubes to cover the crossbars over the rest of the width of the planks, and thereby the artisans will, in effect, overlay the crossbars with gold (see Figure 28). Since all the crossbars will be either inside the planks or on their outside surface, none of them will be visible from the inside of the Tabernacle.
Figure 28: The rings and tubes for the half-length crossbars
30 When it is time to erect the Tabernacle for its ongoing use, you yourself shall erect the Tabernacle in its proper order, as you will have been shown by Me on the mountain."
Fifth Reading 31 God then instructed Moses how to divide the inside of the Tabernacle into two chambers. "You shall have the artisan make a partitioning Curtain woven out of the same material as the lower cover of the Tabernacle: threads composed of six strands each of turquoise, purple, and scarlet wool, and twined linen. Just like that cover, he shall make it with a woven design of cherubs having the appearance of eagles on one side and lions on the other. The Curtain will be ten cubits tall, ten cubits wide, and a handbreadth thick.
Figure 29: The pillars for the Curtain
32 You shall have them hang it on four acacia pillars, each of which will be ten cubits tall, one cubit thick, and three quarters of a cubit wide. These pillars will be overlaid with gold and will be equipped with hooks of gold. Have the artisans whittle the bottom of each pillar so as to leave one tenon, one cubit long, half a cubit wide, and a quarter of a cubit broad, just like the tenons of the Tabernacle planks. By means of these tenons, the four pillars will be set in four bases of silver, each of which will have the same form and dimensions as the bases under the planks of the Tabernacle (see Figure 29). They shall suspend the Curtain from a horizontal pole that rests on the hooks that project out of the four pillars (see Figure 30).
Figure 30: The Curtain hanging on the pole
Figure 31: The position of the Curtain under the tapestries - side view
Figure 32a: The outer and inner chambers of the Tabernacle - top view
33 You shall
Figure 32b: The outer and inner chambers of the Tabernacle - perspective
have them position the Curtain
one cubit west of the point directly under the clasps
that couple the two sets of lower tapestries, that is, ten cubits from the west wall (see Figure 31). There, on the inner side of the Curtain, you shall bring the Ark of Testimony. The Curtain will
thus separate for you between
the outer chamber of the Tabernacle, known as the Sanctuary, and
its inner chamber, the Holy of Holies
(see Figure 32a-b).
34 You shall then have them place the Cover on the Ark of Testimony, in the Holy of Holies. The Ark and its Cover are to be the only furnishings in the Holy of Holies (see Figure 33).
Figure 33: The Ark in the Holy of Holies
35 You shall have them place the Table outside the Curtain, and the Candelabrum opposite the Table on the south side of the Tabernacle, two and a half cubits from the south wall, and you shall have them place the Table on the north side, two and a half cubits from the north wall. There will be a third article in the outer chamber as well—the Golden Altar, on which the incense will be burned—but the directions for its construction will be given later (see Figure 34).
Figure 34: The furnishings in the Sanctuary - top view
36 You shall have them make a Screen for the entrance of the Tent, i.e., of the Tabernacle, out of the same material as the Curtain: threads composed of six strands each of turquoise, purple, and scarlet wool, and twined linen. Have them embroider it—not weave it—with figures of eagles and lions, the same figures appearing on both sides of the cloth. The Screen, like the Curtain, shall be ten cubits tall and ten cubits wide.
37 You shall
Figure 35: The Screen - perspective
have the artisans make five acacia pillars for the Screen
: The Screen will be suspended from a horizontal pole that will rest on hooks projecting from the pillars. These pillars shall be ten cubits tall, one cubit wide, and one cubit thick. You shall
have them overlay
these pillars and their tops with gold
and affix decorative, gold-overlaid bands around them. Equip the pillars with their hooks, which shall also be of gold.
Have the artisans whittle the bottom of each pillar so as to leave a tenon one cubit long. You shall
have the artisans cast five copper bases for them
, one cubit tall, one cubit wide, and one cubit thick (see Figure 35 and Figure 36)."
Figure 36: The Screen - top view
The Outer Altar
Sixth Reading 27:1 God then instructed Moses concerning the furnishings outside the Tabernacle, in the Courtyard. "You shall have the artisans make the Outer Altar out of panels of acacia wood, assembled into a hollow box five cubits long and five cubits wide—the Altar shall be square—and ten cubits tall. It will be three cubits high above its Border, as will be described presently.
Figure 37: The copper Altar - top view
2 You shall have them make protrusions for it on the top, at its four corners, the protrusions being of one piece with it. The protrusions will each be one cubit tall, one cubit long, and one cubit wide. The space between these protrusions, plus an additional cubit inward, will serve as space for the priests to walk on the top of the Altar when they burn the offerings. This will leave one square cubit in the center of the Altar's top for the woodpile (see Figure 37). Although most of the other furnishings of the Tabernacle are to be overlaid with gold, you shall overlay this Altar with copper. This is because the word for "copper" (nechoshet) is similar to the word for "stubbornness" (nachush), and the sacrifices offered on this altar atone for inadvertent sins, which a person generally commits as a result of his stubborn deference to the animal side of his personality.
Figure 38: The utensils of the Altar: A. pot; B. scoop; C. Basin; D. fork; E. fire pan.
Inasmuch as this altar will be used for burning animal sacrifices, you shall
have the artisans make its pots with which to remove the ashes from it; its scoops
, with which the ashes will be shoveled into the pots; its basins
, in which the blood of the slaughtered animals will be received in order to be applied to the altar; its forks
, which will be used to turn over the meat of the sacrifices as it burns; and its fire pans
, which will be used to carry coals from this altar into the Sanctuary and place them on the Golden Altar for the purpose of burning the incense. You shall
have them make all its implements of copper
Figure 39a: The dimensions of the copper Altar - side view
4 You shall
Figure 39b: The copper Altar with its rings and rods
have them make a Grate of copper network
to girdle the Altar,
one cubit wide, occupying the sixth cubit of the Altar's height. You shall
have them make on the network four copper rings, on the four corners
of the Grate.
5 Have them make a decorative Border around the Altar, one cubit thick, occupying the seventh cubit of the Altar's height from the ground. You shall have them place the Grate below the decorative Border of the Altar, extending downward until the middle of the height of the Altar, i.e., until the point 5 cubits from the ground. It will thus be clear where the midpoint of the Altar's height is, and this will be necessary for there are certain offerings whose blood must be applied to the upper half of the Altar and others whose blood must be applied to the lower half of the Altar. (Figure 39a-b)
6 You shall have them make rods for the Altar, rods of acacia wood, and you shall have them overlay them with copper.
7 Its rods shall be inserted through the rings, so that the rods will be on the two sides of the Altar when it is carried.
8 You shall have them make the Altar a hollow structure, of panels, and fill it with earth every time it is set up. It will not be solid, and it will not have a built-in roof. As He showed you on the mountain, so shall they make it. In order to ascend the altar, have the artisans build a ramp, since it is forbidden to ascend the altar by stairs (Figure 40). This ramp will be positioned to the south of the Altar. There is another article outside the Tabernacle—the Laver—but the directions for its construction will be given later."
Seventh Reading 9 The walls of the Tabernacle set off the area occupied by it as holy space. In order to define the area of the surrounding Courtyard, God told Moses: "You shall have them make the Courtyard of the Tabernacle as follows: On the south side there shall be loosely netted crocheted hangings made of twined linen for the Courtyard, one hundred cubits long in order to make one side of the enclosure. These hangings shall be five cubits tall.
Figure 41: The pillars of the Courtyard - top view
10 For this side of the enclosure, have them make twenty pillars, with their twenty copper bases, on which to hang the nettings. There will thus be five cubits between one pillar and the next (see Figure 41). The pillars shall be made out of acacia wood overlaid with copper on the sides and silver on the top. The pillars shall be a cubit wide, a cubit thick, and just over five cubits tall. The bases shall be one cubit tall, and have the artisans whittle away the bottom of each pillar so as to leave a tenon one cubit long, by which they shall insert the pillars into the bases. Have them make hooks that will project out of each pillar at the top, and wooden blocks, one cubit long and a half a cubit wide, to hang from the hooks by a copper ring. The netted hangings will be attached to these blocks by ropes, and this is how they will hang from the pillars (see Figure 42). Have them also affix decorative bands around the pillars (see Figure 43). The hooks of the pillars and their bands shall be made of silver.
Figure 42: The nettings hanging on the pilla5rs: A. a hook on a pillar; B. wooden block; C. block hanging on pillar; D. netting hanging on block. Figure 43: The pillars' decorative bands.
11 Likewise, along the length of the north side, there shall be hangings one hundred cubits in length, with their twenty pillars and their twenty bases of copper; the hooks of the pillars and their bands shall be made of silver.
12 For the width of the Courtyard on the west side there shall be crocheted hangings fifty cubits in length, with their ten pillars and their ten bases.
13 The width of the Courtyard on the front, the east side, shall also be fifty cubits.
14 Of this width, there shall be fifteen cubits of crocheted hangings to one side of the entrance, with their three pillars and their three bases, five cubits apart,
15 and likewise, there shall be fifteen cubits of crocheted hangings to the other side of the entrance, with their three pillars and their three bases, five cubits apart.
Figure 44a: The Screen of the Courtyard - perspective
close the entrance to the Courtyard,
have the artisans make a twenty-cubit
wide Screen out of
the same material used for the tapestries of the Tabernacle, its Screen and its Curtain: threads composed of six strands each of turquoise, purple, and scarlet
wool, and twined linen.
Have them embroider
it with figures of eagles and lions, the same figures appearing on both sides of the cloth. It shall have four pillars and four bases
(see Figure 44).
Maftir 17 Although it was only mentioned previously that the hooks and bands of the pillars on the northern and southern sides of the enclosure should be made of silver, and that the bases on these sides should be made of copper, this applies to all sides of the enclosure: All the pillars surrounding the Courtyard shall be banded with silver; their hooks shall be made of silver, and their bases, of copper.
18 Although the length of the Courtyard shall be one hundred cubits, the Tabernacle shall be situated only in the western half of the Courtyard. Thus, the width and breadth of the empty, eastern half of the Courtyard shall be fifty cubits by fifty. The copper Altar and the Laver shall be placed in this area (see Figure 45). The height of the enclosure shall be five cubits. The entire height of the enclosure will consist of the hangings made of twined linen. The bases of pillars that hold up the Courtyard Screen, like the bases of the other pillars of the Courtyard, shall be made of copper.
Figure 45: The Tabernacle and its funishings in the Courtyard.
19 All the implements of the Tabernacle used in the work of constructing and dismantling it, such as hammers to pound the stakes into the ground, shall be made of copper. Stakes will be used to anchor ropes tied to the goat-hair covering to the ground, so that it not flap in the wind. Similarly, stakes will be used to anchor ropes tied to the netting of the Courtyard enclosure, so it also does not flap in the wind. All the stakes of the Tabernacle and all the stakes for the Courtyard shall be made of copper.