The goal of the divine service in the Mishkan and in the Beis HaMikdash was to transform darkness into light through the refinement of the material world, by means of the sacrifices.

[Related to this is the spiritual role of the vertical beams of the Mishkan — the krashim, a word whose spelling was discussed in chapter 6.]

Concerning this the Torah states, — "And you shall make upright boards for the Sanctuary of acacia wood."

The fact that these boards are referred to as "omdim" - standing is related [and not only etymologically] to the fact that the mitzvos are referred to as "amudim" - pillars.

The 613 mitzvos of the Torah and the seven mitzvos ordained by the Sages are known as the 620 pillars of light.

[This total is the numerical equivalent of the letters that spell the word keser, signifying a state of being in which G‑d's transcendent light is revealed.]

Just as a pillar connects a roof to the floor below, so do the mitzvos draw down G‑d's infinite light and connect it with the worlds below.

For this reason the acacia boards of the Mishkan stood upright: they were pillars that connected the infinite light with the nether worlds.

This can be further understood through the interpretation of the Zohar on the verse, — "Destroy [lit., `rebuke'] the wild beast of the reeds."

[The word koneh means both "reed" and "shaft".]

The "reed" is the male element of evil; the "wild beast of the reeds" is the female element of evil.

To "destroy the wild beast of the reeds" means that one should cut short the descending shaft of the letter kuf, whereupon it becomes a heh.

This is hinted at in the verse, — "The reeds and rushes shall wilt."

And when the kuf is turned into a heh, the word koneh becomes hineh ("behold"), a word that connotes revelation, as in the verse, --"And it will be said on that day, `Behold, this is our G‑d.'"

This verse refers to the revelation of light in the Messianic era, a revelation that depends on our divine service in the present.

For this reason, in the Messianic era the transcendent light of sovev kol almin (which illumines all worlds equally) will be revealed chiefly in the body.

This revelation will come about as a result of our present labors in the refinement of the materiality of this world.

For a divine soul descends below, where it is enclothed in a body and an animal soul.

Numerous hindrances and obstacles here confront the individual in whom this divine soul abides, obstructing the path of his Torah study and his observance of the mitzvos.

In this lowest of worlds, moreover, evil prevails.

Undaunted, he perseveres nevertheless in his divine service, studying the Torah and fulfilling its commands.

Indeed, the challenge rallies him to the prodigious exertion of a warrior.

(For, as is well known, victory goes to the side that is forceful and energetic.)

And, as a result of his labors, such an individual generates the superior light that shines forth from the refinement and elevation of darkness.

We are now in a position to better understand the prophecy that speaks of Mashiach: — "And his feet shall stand [that day on the Mount of Olives]."

He shall stand firm on both feet — unlike the letter kuf, which stands only on its shaft, as unstable on its sole support as the falsehood that it symbolizes.

Mashiach will stand on both feet as does the letter heh, as stable as the truth that it symbolizes.

And this state depends in turn on man's divine service — in transforming the evil of the letter kuf (which had been formed from the letter reish) into the heh of holiness.

The above concept explains the command that the boards of acacia had to stand upright, for this position represents unalterable endurance.

This stance will reveal [the ultimate source for such potential, viz.,] G‑d, as in the verse, — "I am G‑d: I do not change."

And at that time we will palpably see that the world and everything in it derives its life-energy from G‑d.


The upright boards of the Mishkan are pillars that connect G‑d's infinite light to the lower worlds.

The above chapter explains how through man's divine service below, the shaft (koneh) of the letter kuf is cut short, transforming koneh into hin-eh, which implies a revelation of light, the revelation of G‑d, Who is unchanging.