The sages taught: Always appoint at least two people together as trustees over public funds. Even Moses, who enjoyed the full trust of G‑d—as it is written (Numbers 12:7), “In all My house he is trusted”—figured the accounts of the Sanctuary together with others, as it says, “By the hand of Ithamar the son of Aaron.”
Thus the sages taught: the one who withdrew [the monies donated to the Holy Temple] did not enter the chamber wearing either a hemmed cloak, shoes, sandals, tefillin or an amulet (i.e., nothing in which money can be hidden), lest if he became poor, people might say that he became poor because of an iniquity committed in the chamber, or if he became rich, people might say that he became rich from the withdrawal from the chamber. For it is a person’s duty to be free of blame before men as before G‑d, as it is said (Numbers 32:22): “And be guiltless towards G‑d and towards Israel.”
(Midrash Tanchuma; Mishnah, Shekalim 3:2)
The Roman general Controcos questioned Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai: If each gave half a shekel, there should have been 201 talents and 11 maneh of silver. . . . Was Moses your teacher a thief or a swindler, or else a bad mathematician? He gave a half, took a half, and did not [even] return a complete half? Replied Rabbi Yochanan: Moses our teacher was a trustworthy treasurer and a good mathemetician; these talents were measured in “the shekel of the Sanctuary,” which is double the common measure.
(Talmud, Bechorot 5a)
Whenever the Torah uses the word vayehi (“it came to pass”), this connotes a woeful event. What woe was there in the Mishkan’s completion? This is comparable to a king who had a contentious wife. So he said to her: “Make me a purple cloak.” As long as she was preoccupied with it, she did not quarrel. When her work was completed, she brought it to the king. The king saw it and was pleased with it, and began cry out, “Woe! Woe!” Said his wife: “What is this, my lord? I have labored to do your will, and you cry, ‘Woe, woe’?” Said he to her: “The work is beautiful and favorable in my eyes. But as long as you were preoccupied with it, you did not anger or provoke me; now that you are free of it, I fear that you will again anger me.”
So too said G‑d: “As long as My children were occupied with the Mishkan, they did not grumble against Me. Now they will again begin to provoke Me.” Therefore it says vayehi—implying vai hi, “woe is it.”
On the 25th of Kislev the work of Mishkan was completed, and its components sat folded up [for three months] until the 1st of Nissan, because G‑d wanted that the Mishkan should be erected in the month that Isaac was born. . . . The month of Kislev was thus deprived. Said G‑d: “I must compensate it.” How did G‑d compensate the month of Kislev? With the dedication of the Temple by the Hasmoneans (on Chanukah).
When did the consecration of the Sanctuary begin? On the 23rd of Adar. And on the 1st of Nissan the days of consecration were completed. During each of the seven days of consecration Moses set up the Tabernacle, offered his sacrifices in it every morning, and then pulled it down. On the eighth day he put it up but did not dismantle it again.
Seven times Moses erected the Mishkan and then dismantled it, presaging the seven Sanctuaries that would serve the Jewish people: the Tabernacle in the desert, those at Gilgal, Shiloh, Nov and Givon, and the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem. Seven times Moses dismantled the Tabernacle and then set it up again, so that the future falls of these Sanctuaries should not be permanent, but be followed by a rebuilding. Thus we are guaranteed that the destruction of the seventh Sanctuary will be followed by the building of the Third Temple, which shall never be destroyed.
(Rabbi Avraham Mordechai of Gur)
What is the meaning of the verse (Song of Songs 5:1), “I have come into My garden, My sister, My bride”? This means [the G‑d says, “I have returned] to My bridal chamber, to the place which has been My principal abode from the very beginning.” For was not the principal abode of the Shechinah (Divine Presence) in the terrestrial regions? For so it is written (Genesis 3:8), “They heard the voice of the L‑rd G‑d walking in the garden” . . .
But when Adam sinned, the Shechinah betook itself to the first heaven. When Cain sinned, it betook itself to the second heaven. When the generation of Enosh sinned, it ascended to the third heaven. When the generation of the Flood sinned, it rose to the fourth heaven. When the generation of the Tower of Babel sinned, it moved up into the fifth heaven. When the people of Sodom sinned, it rose into the sixth heaven. And when the Egyptians sinned, it ascended into the seventh heaven.
Then arose seven righteous people who brought the Shechinah down from the celestial to the terrestrial regions: Abraham brought it down from the seventh heaven to the sixth, Isaac brought it down from the sixth to the fifth, Jacob brought it down from the fifth to the fourth, Levi brought it down from the fourth to the third, Kohath brought it down from the third to the second, Amram brought it down from the second to the first, and Moses brought it down from the celestial to the terrestrial region. . . . When did the Shechinah come to dwell on earth? On the day when the Tabernacle was erected, as it says, “The cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of G‑d filled the Tabernacle.”
Rav Zerika raised the following contradiction: One verse reads, “Moses was not able to enter into the Tent of Meeting because the cloud rested on it,” whereas another verse (Exodus 24:18) says, “Moses entered into the midst of the cloud”? This is to tell us that G‑d took hold of Moses and brought him into the cloud.
(Talmud, Yoma 4b)
Said Rabbi Chama bar Chaninaa: Can it be that Moses feared the cloud? Is it not already written, “Moses entered into the midst of the cloud”? . . . In what sense was he “not able”? Because Moses accorded honor to the Shechinah, and did not enter until he was summoned inside.