Building A Holy Sanctuary

The Gemara in Eruvin 2a-b states that the words Mikdash (Temple) and Mishkan (Tabernacle) can be used interchangeably. If that is the case, then why does the Torah need to use both words?

The words Mikdash and Mishkan have different connotations. The root of the word Mikdash is Kadosh, holy, while the root of the word Mishkan is Shechina, Divine Presence. In Parshat Terumah, Shmot 25:8 we find the words "Ve.Asu Li Mikdash V.Shachanti Bitocham", "They shall make a Sanctuary (a holy place) for Me and then I (My Divine Presence) will rest in their midst."

According to Sforno, God.s Divine Presence will dwell among B.nai Yisrael and receive their prayers in the same way that Moshe experienced the Divine Presence at Mount Sinai. However, God wants us to do our part and work for this privilege.

This is not only true of the Beit HaMikdash (Holy Temple in Jerusalem) and the Mishkan (Tabernacle in the desert). The Rebbe of Amshinov once said that by bringing Kedusha (holiness) into our private homes, each of our homes can become a Mishkan HaShem, a sanctuary where God.s presence will reside.

If we do our part to make ourselves and our surroundings holy, both in and out of the synagogue, then God.s presence will rest on us wherever we go.