Chapter 38

[21] The Tabernacle was a Testimony: The word for “testimony” (עדות) is related to the word for “jewelry” (עדי) the Torah uses to refer to the crowns the people received at the Giving of the Torah and had to remove after the incident of the Golden Calf.1 This alludes to the fact that the Tabernacle was the means God provided us to regain the spiritual heights and Divine consciousness He gave us when He gave us the Torah.2

Chapter 39

[2] He made the Ephod: Most of this parashah deals with the Tabernacle as a whole, and specifically, how it was erected, anointed, and began to function as an earthly abode for the Divine presence. In this context, the description of how the priestly vestments were made would seem to belong in the previous parashah, Vayakheil, which describes how the individual components of the Tabernacle were made.

The reason the description of how the priestly vestments were made is nonetheless included in this parashah is that they are not technically accoutrements of the Tabernacle per se; rather, they are the means by which the priests are imbued with the holiness required to perform their tasks. Inasmuch as it is these tasks, the priestly rites, that cause God’s presence to be continuously revealed in the Tabernacle, the description of the priestly vestments is included here, rather than together with the descriptions of how the Tabernacle and its furnishings were made.3

[33] They brought the Tabernacle to Moses: The people knew that Moses had to erect the Tabernacle, even though they had done all the work of constructing and preparing its components themselves.

The same applies to the spiritual Tabernacle we each construct within ourselves. We must do all we can on our own to form and prepare all its component parts, but after that we must be sure to enlist the aid of the “Moses” of our generation, whose task it is to actualize our connection with God. Then we can be assured that all the pieces of our inner Tabernacle will unite seamlessly to perform their function in the fullest way.4