Mishkan or Mashkanta? The Relationship Between the Tabernacle and a Mortgage

Sponsored by Adam Burnat in memory of my Grandmothers Enah Sheyna Bat Miriam and Esther Gitel Bat Chaya.


The beginning of the first pasuk of Parshat Pekudei seems repetitive (Shmot 38:21) “These are the accounts of the mishkan (hamishkan), mishkan of testimony”.

Why does the word mishkan have to be written twice?

According to Rashi, the fact that the word mishkan is written twice is an allusion to the Beit HaMikdash shenitmashken, the holy Temple which was taken as collateral by being destroyed twice because of the iniquities of Yisrael.

Sefer HaZikaron, Rabbi Avraham Bukrot adds that just as collateral is confiscated in lieu of an unpaid debt, God took the Temples rather than collect his debt/ rather than exacting punishment that B’nai Yisrael deserved.

Lifshuto shel Rashi, Rabbi Shmuel Gelbard explains that just as collateral is held to insure the ultimate payment of debt, God holds the Temple until B’nai Yisrael repent.

The root of mishkan is from the same root as the word shechina (Divine Presence) as well as the word mashkanta (modern Hebrew word for mortgage).

When Bilam blessed the Jewish people he said “Ma Tovu Ohalcha Yaakov, Mishkenotecha Yisrael”, How wonderful are your tents, Jacob, your miskenot, Israel. Allegorically, How wonderful are the first two Batei Mikdash, they will have to be pawned off when the times will get tough. From here we learn what was in Bilam’s heart: Tzvi Yisrael compares this to a person who acquires new objects, jewelry etc. His friends will be truly happy for him and bless him that they should be used for happy occasions. The enemy on the other hand will say that these jewels will come in handy during a difficult time when they will be needed to be pawned off.

With the numerous terrorist attacks that have taken place in Israel this week, many of us are asking ourselves if we have already suffered enough and if the mortgage can finally been paid off so that the shechina can again rest in Jerusalem and we can resume our lives in peace and tranquility.