In this week's Parshah, Moses receives instructions on how to build a special sort of "house" for G‑d, called the mishkan. This is where G‑d's presence will dwell and where the Jews will be able to perform services for G‑d. It was the original synagogue—in fact, our synagogues today are modeled after, and in place of, the mishkan of old.

G‑d gives Moses detailed instructions on how to build the mishkan (also called the Sanctuary), so that it could travel with the Jews in the desert. All the objects in the mishkan had rings attached so poles could be put inside with which to carry that vessel.

There was an inner chamber in the back, divided with a beautiful woven curtain, that contained an ark made of gold and wood, covered with gold and two cherubim—figures of angel-children. In the ark were the two tablets that G‑d gave Moses at Mount Sinai.

In the main room, they were to build a table to hold the special bread, a menorah (candelabra) of pure gold that would be lit by every day, and a square altar on which to bring the ketoret--the sacrifice made of spices.

The mishkan itself had three walls made out of forty-eight wooden boards that clicked into one another, and was covered with tapestries and curtains made of skins. The fourth wall was an entranceway covered by a woven curtain. Surrounding the whole mishkan was a courtyard.