Friday, March 4, 2011

The numbers add up

אֵלֶּה פְקוּדֵי הַמִּשְׁכָּן מִשְׁכַּן הָעֵדֻת
"These are the numbers of the Mishkan, the Mishkan of the Testimony...." [Pekudei 38:21]

Rabbeinu Bechaya points out that the numerical value of the words "HaMishkanהַמִּשְׁכָּן and "Ha'eidus הָעֵדֻת correspond to the total number of years that the first Beis HaMikdash, second Beis HaMikdash and Mishkan stood.

The numerical value of Mishkan is 410, alluding to the 410 years that the first Beis HaMikdash stood.

The numerical value of the word HaMishkan  (415) plus the five letters that are used to spell it, equals 420.  This alludes to the second Beis HaMikdash which stood for 420 years.

The numerical value of Ha'eidus is 479. This alludes to the Mishkan Ha'eidus which stood for 479 years.

In Maseches Yoma [21b] Chazal enumerate five items that were present in the first Beis HaMikdash but were lacking in the second:

1) The Aron Ha'eidus (the Ark)
2) The Ner Tamid (the Lamp that burned continuously)
3) The Divine Presence
4) Divine Inspiration
5) The ability to inquire of the Urim v'Tumim

This statement of Chazal, said the Chasam Sofer, is alluded to in the verse אֵלֶּה פְקוּדֵי הַמִּשְׁכָּן מִשְׁכַּן הָעֵדֻת  The word "haMishkan", containing a hei (numerical value 5) at the beginning, alludes to the first Beis HaMikdash which possessed these five attributes. The word "Mishkan" however, alludes to the second Beis HaMikdash which lacked these five items.

Source: Rabbi Yisrael Bronstein

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