On the day the terrestrial Tabernacle was erected, a parallel Sanctuary was established in the Celestial Regions. This is the reason that the word "tabernacle" is repeated: "Tabernacle, Tabernacle of Testimony". (Ex. 38:21) G‑d displayed as much desire for that which is in hidden regions as for what is revealed in our world. Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel stated in the Midrash, parashat Naso, that at the time G‑d created the universe, He wished to have a residence in the terrestrial world similar to His residence in the Celestial Regions.

Man is a combination of terrestrial and celestial elements….

Man is the ultimate purpose of the universe. This is something that all our commentators have been at pains to prove. It is the reason we say in our prayers on Rosh Hashanah: "This day [the date on which Adam was created] is the beginning of Your works." The author of Kli Chemda says that this is the meaning of the verse: "Say to G‑d how awesome are Your deeds." (Psalms 66:3) Significantly, the Psalmist does not speak about G‑d's works in the plural, but sums them all up as a single deed, although the word "Your deeds" is in the plural. What the Psalmist means is that all of G‑d's deeds had but one aim, Man.

This is why Man is a combination of terrestrial and celestial elements. Rashi explains this in his commentary thus: This established a permanent linkage between terrestrial and celestial creatures. It helped remove jealousy between the creatures of the "upper" world and the creatures of the "lower" world. (Genesis 2:7, Rashi) There remains a complaint [by the celestial forces] inasmuch as only man is at home on earth. This subject bears further investigation.

Man is composed of body and soul, a visible as well as an invisible part. This is the deeper meaning of the verse: "They shall make for Me a Sanctuary and I shall dwell amongst them." (Ex. 25:8) The difficulty here is that the verse speaks about the Tabernacle. Our Rabbis in tell us that the expression "Tabernacle" and "Sanctuary" may be used interchangeably. (Shavuot 16) This was not the only difficulty in the verse: why, if the Sanctuary is a single unit, does the Torah report G‑d saying that He will dwell amongst them (plural)? The Torah should have written that he will dwell "within it"!

We have here an allusion to the fact that the cause is fond of the effect, i.e. that the hidden longs for the revealed. Our Sages (Pesachim 112) articulated this thought when they said that more than the calf desires to suckle from its mother, the cow is anxious to nurse its calf. The Torah writes: "to whom G‑d had given wisdom and insight to them [in Hebrew, 'b'heima']", (parashat Vayakhel, Ex. 36:1)there is a play on words here in that the word "b'heima" in Hebrew can mean "to them" or can mean "animal". Shemot Rabba (Ex. 48:3) states that the word "b'heima" in the above verse is to teach us that it was not only man whom G‑d imbued with wisdom but also the animals.

Bezalel was the only one who was privy to the wisdom possessed by the animals….

Bezalel was the only one who was privy to the wisdom possessed by the animals. Perhaps the Torah wants to hint at the proverb we quoted earlier that the mother cow is more anxious to nurse its calf than the calf is anxious to be nursed. It is all an allusion to the close connection between cause and effect. We are taught a lesson in reciprocal attachment and unity, i.e. that nothing exists outside of G‑d Himself - that He is inextricably involved with all that He has created. It is this lesson the Rabbis wanted to teach us when they said that "Tabernacle" and "Sanctuary" can be used interchangeably; the exterior, visible part is called "Tabernacle", whereas the interior, invisible part is called "Sanctuary".

I have already written about Man being the essential part of the universe. This premise of the Zohar has been quoted in the treatise at the beginning of Chapter Seven [Ed. not available]. It is stipulated there that Man is a microcosm, and that there are allusions to compare Man to both the universe and to the Sanctuary. The author says that the heart corresponds to the Inner Sanctuary, the Holy of Holies. Maimonides, in a letter to his son Rabbi Abraham, compares the Tabernacle and its furnishings to a distinguished body.

When G‑d said, "I will dwell amongst them", He meant inside their essence, something more essential than the mere interior of the Tabernacle, the part called also "the Tent of Testimony", i.e. the Torah. This is the source of everlasting life.

The Altar for the Burnt Offering is the site where one achieves closeness with G‑d. The expression "offering [in Hebrew, 'korban', relating to the word meaning "to bring close'] to G‑d", which we invariably find when the offerings to be presented on this altar are mentioned, reflect the purpose of these offerings to achieve closeness with G‑d. The Torah constantly repeats the expression in connection with these offerings in order to stress the profound value of this spiritual rapprochement and unification with the Celestial Regions by means of these offerings. All this is explained by the Zohar.