Bits of Torah Truths, Chol HaMo’ed Sukkot, Our Tent, Our Home, and the Purpose of Creation

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This week’s reading is for Chol HaMo’ed Sukkot (Shemot / Exodus 33:12-34:26) and is taken from the end of Parashat Ki Tisa. In this section of Scripture, we study how the Lord has mercy upon His people when Moshe asks for forgiveness for their sins. The Lord not only provides forgiveness, He also shows both Moshe and the people His glory.

For forty years, Israel traveled the wilderness following the Exodus from Egypt, the miraculous “clouds of glory,” and God’s hand that surrounded them, shielding them from the dangers and discomforts of the desert. In the festival of Succot, we are reminded of God’s kindness and reaffirm our trust in His providence by dwelling in a Succah. A Succah is a temporary hut constructed with a roof covered in branches. For seven days and nights, we eat all our meals in the succah and we are to regard the succah as our home. Succot is also called “The Time of Our Joy,” a special time of music and joy pervades the festival. The festival of Succot is the most joyous of the three biblically mandated festivals where each is given its own descriptive name, Passover is the “Season of Liberation,” Shavuot is the “Season of the Giving of Torah,” and Succot is described as the “The Season of Rejoicing.”

Why do we rejoice? We rejoice by reason of God’s forgiveness, His mercy, His glory, as is detailed at the end of Parashat Ki Tisa, and His continued desire to dwell in our midst. While requesting for forgiveness, Moshe asks the Lord to reveal Himself and His glory. The Lord instructs Moshe to make two stone tablets, like the previous ones, and He will write on them the ten words. The significance of this statement is that the people are required to accept His Torah if they are to expect the Lord to dwell amongst them. Do you think this requirement is necessary today? Moshe demonstrates for us this week the importance of knowing God according to His ways in his statement saying, ‘Now therefore, I pray You, if I have found favor in Your sight, let me know Your ways that I may know You, so that I may find favor in Your sight. Consider too, that this nation is Your people.’ (NASB) Moshe’s statement, having found favor in the Lord’s eyes, he desires to know the Lord in a more intimate way which should be our desire, both for our lives and in our homes. We are called to walk by faith and in the spirit for His glory!

ספר שמות פרק לג
ז וּמֹשֶׁה יִקַּח אֶת-הָאֹהֶל וְנָטָה-לוֹ | מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה הַרְחֵק מִן-הַמַּחֲנֶה וְקָרָא לוֹ אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד וְהָיָה כָּל-מְבַקֵּשׁ יְהֹוָה יֵצֵא אֶל-אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד אֲשֶׁר מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה: ח וְהָיָה כְּצֵאת מֹשֶׁה אֶל-הָאֹהֶל יָקוּמוּ כָּל-הָעָם וְנִצְּבוּ אִישׁ פֶּתַח אָהֳלוֹ וְהִבִּיטוּ אַחֲרֵי מֹשֶׁה עַד-בֹּאוֹ הָאֹהֱלָה: ט וְהָיָה כְּבֹא מֹשֶׁה הָאֹהֱלָה יֵרֵד עַמּוּד הֶעָנָן וְעָמַד פֶּתַח הָאֹהֶל וְדִבֶּר עִם-מֹשֶׁה: י וְרָאָה כָל-הָעָם אֶת-עַמּוּד הֶעָנָן עֹמֵד פֶּתַח הָאֹהֶל וְקָם כָּל-הָעָם וְהִשְׁתַּחֲווּ אִישׁ פֶּתַח אָהֳלוֹ: יא וְדִבֶּר יְהֹוָה אֶל-מֹשֶׁה פָּנִים אֶל-פָּנִים כַּאֲשֶׁר יְדַבֵּר אִישׁ אֶל-רֵעֵהוּ וְשָׁב אֶל-הַמַּחֲנֶה וּמְשָׁרְתוֹ יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בִּן-נוּן נַעַר לֹא יָמִישׁ מִתּוֹךְ הָאֹהֶל: פ [שלישי] יב וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה אֶל-יְהֹוָה רְאֵה אַתָּה אֹמֵר אֵלַי הַעַל אֶת-הָעָם הַזֶּה וְאַתָּה לֹא הוֹדַעְתַּנִי אֵת אֲשֶׁר-תִּשְׁלַח עִמִּי וְאַתָּה אָמַרְתָּ יְדַעְתִּיךָ בְשֵׁם וְגַם-מָצָאתָ חֵן בְּעֵינָי:

Shemot / Exodus 33:7-12
33:7 Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, a good distance from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the Lord would go out to the tent of meeting which was outside the camp. 33:8 And it came about, whenever Moses went out to the tent, that all the people would arise and stand, each at the entrance of his tent, and gaze after Moses until he entered the tent. 33:9 Whenever Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent; and the Lord would speak with Moses. 33:10 When all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would arise and worship, each at the entrance of his tent. 33:11 Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses returned to the camp, his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent. 33:12 Then Moses said to the Lord, ‘See, You say to me, ‘Bring up this people!’ But You Yourself have not let me know whom You will send with me. Moreover, You have said, ‘I have known you by name, and you have also found favor in My sight.’ (NASB)

ספר שמות פרק לג
יג וְעַתָּה אִם-נָא מָצָאתִי חֵן בְּעֵינֶיךָ הוֹדִעֵנִי נָא אֶת-דְּרָכֶךָ וְאֵדָעֲךָ לְמַעַן אֶמְצָא-חֵן בְּעֵינֶיךָ וּרְאֵה כִּי עַמְּךָ הַגּוֹי הַזֶּה: יד וַיֹּאמַר פָּנַי יֵלֵכוּ וַהֲנִחֹתִי לָךְ: טו וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו אִם-אֵין פָּנֶיךָ הֹלְכִים אַל-תַּעֲלֵנוּ מִזֶּה: טז וּבַמֶּה | יִוָּדַע אֵפוֹא כִּי-מָצָאתִי חֵן בְּעֵינֶיךָ אֲנִי וְעַמֶּךָ הֲלוֹא בְּלֶכְתְּךָ עִמָּנוּ וְנִפְלִינוּ אֲנִי וְעַמְּךָ מִכָּל-הָעָם אֲשֶׁר עַל-פְּנֵי הָאֲדָמָה: פ [רביעי] יז וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֶל-מֹשֶׁה גַּם אֶת-הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר דִּבַּרְתָּ אֶעֱשֶֹה כִּי-מָצָאתָ חֵן בְּעֵינַי וָאֵדָעֲךָ בְּשֵׁם: יח וַיֹּאמַר הַרְאֵנִי נָא אֶת-כְּבֹדֶךָ:

Shemot / Exodus 33:13-18
33:13 ‘Now therefore, I pray You, if I have found favor in Your sight, let me know Your ways that I may know You, so that I may find favor in Your sight. Consider too, that this nation is Your people.’ 33:14 And He said, ‘My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.’ 33:15 Then he said to Him, ‘If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here. 33:16 ‘For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?’ 33:17 The Lord said to Moses, ‘I will also do this thing of which you have spoken; for you have found favor in My sight and I have known you by name.’ 33:18 Then Moses said, ‘I pray You, show me Your glory!’ (NASB)

In Devarim / Deuteronomy 33:7, the Scriptures state, ז וּמֹשֶׁה יִקַּח אֶת-הָאֹהֶל וְנָטָה-לוֹ | מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה הַרְחֵק מִן-הַמַּחֲנֶה וְקָרָא לוֹ אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד וְהָיָה כָּל-מְבַקֵּשׁ יְהֹוָה יֵצֵא אֶל-אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד אֲשֶׁר מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה: 33:7 Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, a good distance from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the Lord would go out to the tent of meeting which was outside the camp. (NASB) The NASB translation states “Moshe used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp…” which seems to place a third person perspective on the text. The MT states וּמֹשֶׁה יִקַּח using the Qal Imperfect 3rd Masculine Singular verb יִקַּח meaning “to take, get, fetch, lay hold of, seize.” We do not read in the MT that “Moshe used to take…” but that “He took.” This is an important point because we are not given a length of time of which Moshe began or ended this practice of moving the tent away from the congregation of Israel. The Lord God sought to dwell in the midst of the people, however, according to the Torah, in order to seek Him the people had to separate themselves, to leave the camp to draw near at a place located some distance away. The people had acted so wickedly, that their sins had caused the meeting place to be moved from “in their midst” to “outside the camp.” This provides us with an illustration of the kind of spiritual connection we are to supposed to have with the Lord. Moshe’s actions show us how important being “set apart” is in our relationship with the Lord. This is not about being a separatist, but illustrates for us the holiness of God and our dwelling in His presence, our drawing near, and our living in such a way so as to walk in the image and likeness that He intended for us. This is very significant in light of what we read here at the end of Parashat Ki Tisa.

The Scriptures say the following:

Devarim / Deuteronomy 33:8-10
33:8 And it came about, whenever Moses went out to the tent, that all the people would arise and stand, each at the entrance of his tent, and gaze after Moses until he entered the tent. 33:9 Whenever Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent; and the Lord would speak with Moses. 33:10 When all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would arise and worship, each at the entrance of his tent. (NASB) ח וְהָיָה כְּצֵאת מֹשֶׁה אֶל-הָאֹהֶל יָקוּמוּ כָּל-הָעָם וְנִצְּבוּ אִישׁ פֶּתַח אָהֳלוֹ וְהִבִּיטוּ אַחֲרֵי מֹשֶׁה עַד-בֹּאוֹ הָאֹהֱלָה: ט וְהָיָה כְּבֹא מֹשֶׁה הָאֹהֱלָה יֵרֵד עַמּוּד הֶעָנָן וְעָמַד פֶּתַח הָאֹהֶל וְדִבֶּר עִם-מֹשֶׁה: י וְרָאָה כָל-הָעָם אֶת-עַמּוּד הֶעָנָן עֹמֵד פֶּתַח הָאֹהֶל וְקָם כָּל-הָעָם וְהִשְׁתַּחֲווּ אִישׁ פֶּתַח אָהֳלוֹ:

We are told that each man would arise and stand when Moshe went to the Ohel Moed (Tent of Meeting), they would see the Glory of God descend upon the Ohel Moed, and that when this happened, each man would worship at the entrance of his tent. Based upon this text, “what is the significance of the entrance to the tent or the doorway to your home?” Is the doorway to your home considered a place of worship?

A short survey from memory of the Torah significance would be that a Mezuzah is placed at the doorway with a portion of the Torah scroll inside. A covenant of blood was made at the doorway to the house with a bond servant, one who wanted to permanently join himself with the family. Abraham sat at the entrance of his tent (Bereshit / Genesis 18) showing hospitality to strangers, something that is expected of God’s people when strangers come. The list could go on, the point is that the home is to be a place of peace, joy, and hospitality towards others, a place of worship, praise, and speaking of the Word of God (see Devarim / Deuteronomy 4:9, 6:7, and 11:19).
The rabbis have much to say concerning the importance of the tent.

Sforno on Numbers:
מה טובו אהליך יעקב: a reference to the Torah academies. [the word אהל in that sense dates back to Genesis 25:27 where Yaakov is described as יושב אהלים a dweller in tents.” It was also used in this sense by Noach when he blessed his son Shem (Genesis 9:27) We find it even more prominently as possessing this meaning in Exodus 33:7 “anyone desirous of finding the presence of G’d would go out to the Tent of Testimony.” מה טובו אהליך יעקב בתי מדרשות. כענין יושב אהלים וכענין וישכון באהלי שם וכן והיה כל מכקש ה’ יצא אל אהל מועד:

Notice something here in the commentary by Sforno, along with the Torah context, his interpretation based upon the word ohel, אהל, “tent,” is this refers to a Torah academy. He then looks at its use in the life of Jacob and Noach, and in the Torah Portion (Chol HaMo’ed Sukkot) as seeking the presence of God in the Ohel Moed. According to both the rabbis and the Torah, the tent or home is supposed to be a place for studying and reading of God’s word. The parallel is to seeking the presence of God. Is your home a place of studying and reading God’s word, and for seeking the presence of God?

Devarim / Deuteronomy 11:16-25
11:16 ‘Beware that your hearts are not deceived, and that you do not turn away and serve other gods and worship them. 11:17 ‘Or the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you, and He will shut up the heavens so that there will be no rain and the ground will not yield its fruit; and you will perish quickly from the good land which the Lord is giving you. 11:18 ‘You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. 11:19 ‘You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up. 11:20 ‘You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, 11:21 so that your days and the days of your sons may be multiplied on the land which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens remain above the earth. 11:22 ‘For if you are careful to keep all this commandment which I am commanding you to do, to love the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and hold fast to Him, 11:23 then the Lord will drive out all these nations from before you, and you will dispossess nations greater and mightier than you. 11:24 ‘Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall be yours; your border will be from the wilderness to Lebanon, and from the river, the river Euphrates, as far as the western sea. 11:25 ‘No man will be able to stand before you; the Lord your God will lay the dread of you and the fear of you on all the land on which you set foot, as He has spoken to you. (NASB)

Notice the commands here regarding the home, the Lord tells us within the context of being careful not to be deceived and not to follow after the false gods of the nations, that we are to take the Scriptures and bind them to our hand and our head, to teach them to your sins, and to speak of them when we sit in our house, when we walk along the road, and when we lay down and raise up. We are to write God’s word on our door posts, and on the gates to our home, and great wisdom will be given to our children, and the Lord will grant us length of days and many children. Doing these things, the Lord will drive out the evil that is before us, whereever we walk the Lord will be with us, and all men will be fearful because of the Lord. In addition, the Scriptures speak of the Ohel Edut ְאֹהֶל הָעֵדֻת the tent of the testimony. Is your tent, your home a testimony for the Lord?
The rabbis continue in their discussion on the tent of meeting in the Talmud Bavli Berakhot 63b on Shemot / Exodus 33:7.

Talmud Bavli Berakhot 63b
Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it without the camp” (Exod. xxxiii. 7). Can we not use here an a fortiori argument: If of the Ark of God, which was never more than twelve Mil distant, the Torah declares, (שמות לג, ז) ומשה יקח את האהל ונטה לו מחוץ למחנה והלא דברים קל וחומר ומה ארון ה’ שלא היה מרוחק אלא שנים עשר מיל אמרה תורה “Everyone that sought the Lord went out unto the tent of meeting, which was without the camp” (ibid.), how much more so, the disciples of the wise who go from city to city and from province to province to study Torah! (שמות לג, ז) והיה כל מבקש ה’ יצא אל אהל מועד תלמידי חכמים שהולכים מעיר לעיר וממדינה למדינה ללמוד תורה על אחת כמה וכמה

According to the Talmud, the idea put forth in these quotes from the Sages is of those who travel from city to city to study the Torah. Could this be a reference to taking what is learned in the schools or academies, the home, to others, to speak about and hash out the meaning of the Scriptures and their application for life? What would life be like today if that were to happen?

The Aramaic translation, the Targum Pseudo Jonathan, states the following:

Targum Pseudo Jonathan Shemot 33:8-10
But the tabernacle he took away from thence, and spread it without the camp, and removed it from the camp of the people to the distance of two thousand cubits; and it was called the Tabernacle of the House of Instruction: and it was that when any one turned by repentance with a true heart before the Lord, he went forth to the Tabernacle of the House of Instruction that was without the camp, to confess and pray for the pardon of his sins; and praying he was forgiven. And it was when Mosheh passed forth from the camp to go to the tabernacle that all the wicked people arose, and stood, every man at the door of his tent, and looked with the evil eye after Mosheh, when he entered the tabernacle. And it came to pass when Mosheh had gone into the tabernacle, the column of the glorious Cloud descended and stood at the door of the tabernacle; and the Word of the Lord spake with Mosheh. And all the people beheld the column of the Cloud standing at the door of the tabernacle, and the whole people at once rose up and worshipped towards the tabernacle, standing every man at the door of his tent.

The rabbis translate the MT in the Targum to say when one was truly repentant they would go to the Ohel Moed to seek the Lord. This suggests that when at home, the people were unrepentant, and when they repented they would leave the home to seek the Lord. This may be interpreted that we need to be in a state of repentance both at home and away. The Targum Onkelos translates, “Arid Mosheh took a tabernacle, and spread it for himself without the camp, at a distance from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the House of Instruction: and it was that every one who sought instruction from before the Lord, went forth to the tabernacle of the house of instruction without the camp. And it came to pass that when Mosheh went forth to the tabernacle, all the people rose up, and stood, every man at the door of his tent, and looked after Mosheh until he had entered into the tabernacle. And it was when Mosheh had entered the tabernacle, the column of the Cloud descended and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and (He) spake with Mosheh. And all the people saw the column of the Cloud standing at the door of the tabernacle, and all the people arose and worshipped, every man at the door of his tent.” Note how Moshe spread the tabernacle for himself, which is different from the translation in Targum Pseudo Jonathan? This provides the rabbinic opinion that the people were not interested in seeking the Lord in their midst, and so Moshe moved the meeting place of God outside so that those who truly sought the Lord would do so for everyone to see. The rabbis comments on the Tent saying that the tent is the place where one achieves closeness with God according to Shelah, Shmini, Torah Ohr 10.

Shelah, Shmini, Torah Ohr 10:
Our sages (Baba Batra 25) paraphrased this thought when they taught: “If someone wishes to acquire wisdom let him turn southward” i.e. towards its symbol, the candlestick; if on the other hand, he wants to become wealthy, let him turn northwards,” i.e. towards the symbol of wealth, the Table (both in the Sanctuary). This is the meaning of “Tent of Testimony.” The מזבח העולה, the altar for the burnt-offering, is the site whence one achieves closeness with G’d. The expression קרבן לה’ which we invariably find when the offerings to be presented on this altar are mentioned, reflect the purpose of these offerings to achieve closeness, קרבן, with G’d. The Torah constantly repeats the expression לי-ה-ו-ה in connection with these קרבנות in order to stress the profound value of this spiritual rapprochement and unification with the Celestial Regions by means of these offerings. All this is explained by the Zohar.

The sense of what we are getting from the rabbis is the importance of our homes being a place to achieve closeness with God. The Tabernacle was a place where the sacrifices were brought unto the Lord, the home may be a place where our sacrifices are brought for the members of our family which also may be an offering unto the Lord.

The rabbis continue in their discussions regarding the significance of the tent (home), Tabernacle (worship), and Mikdash (place of study), according to Midrash Tehillim 76, Part 3. Midrash Tehillim 76, Part 3 states, “Even in Salem is set His Tabernacle, and His dwelling place in Zion (Tehillim / Psalms 76:3).” The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Rabbi Berechiah taught, at the very beginning of His creation of the earth, the Holy One blessed be He, set a Tabernacle in Jerusalem, within which if one may use a manner of speaking, He prayed, Let it be the will that My children do My will, so that I will not destroy My house and My Temple.” The idea here expressed by the rabbis in the opening of the midrash, is that the Mikdash (Tabernacle) preceded the creation of the world. In the Talmud, the rabbis make the following statement regarding God establishing His Tabernacle from the beginning of creation.

Talmud Bavli Pesachim 54a
It was taught: The following seven things were created before the world: The Torah, repentance, the Garden of Eden, Gehinom, the Throne of Glory, the Temple and the name of the Messiah… The Temple, as it is written: “A glorious throne exalted from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary” (Yirmiyahu 17:12).

Midrash Rabbah Bereshit 1, Part 4
Six things preceded the creation of the world. Some were created, some arose in thought to be created: The Torah and the Throne of Glory were created… The patriarchs, Israel, the Temple, and the name of the Messiah arose in thought to be created… The Temple, from where? As it is stated: “A glorious throne exalted from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary” (Yirmiyahu 17:12).

Zohar, Tzav, 34b
Rav Chizkiya sat before Rav Elazar. He said to him: How many lights were created before the world was created? He said to him: Seven, as follows: the light of Torah, the light of Gehinom, the light of the Garden of Eden, the light of the Throne of Glory, the light of the Temple, the light of repentance, and the light of the Messiah.

When the rabbis say that something preceded the creation of the world, they are referring to the thing that stands at the very foundation of the world which is connected to the purpose and objective of God creating this world. This is a similar concept to the thought that precedes one’s actions, or that these things represent the reason God had for creating the world. Note the things that are mentioned in the gemara from the Talmud Bavli Pesachim 54a, the rabbis speak of the Torah, repentance, the Garden of Eden, Gehinom (Hell), the Throne of Glory, and the Temple. All of these things that preceded the creation involve the presence of God. This is also true of the Temple, which represents the presence of God in the material world. In addition, the rabbis connect the creation of the world and the Mikdash (the place of study) to the idea that the Mishkan and the Mikdash was the goal of creation, and it was only with their construction that creation was completed. The idea is that man draws near in the Mishkan, and He studies in the Mikdash. These things together tells us that the Lord desires to dwell in our midst with a people who long to draw near to Him. Note also the following references from the Rabbinic Literature.

Pesikta Rabbati, parasha 6
Another explanation: “So was ended all the work” (I Melakhim 7:51; II Divrei Ha-yamim 5:1) – it does not say here “the work,” but rather “all the work:” the work of the six days of creation. “From all His work that God had created and formed (la-asot, lit. ‘to form’)” (Bereishit 2:3) – it does not say here “and formed,” but rather “to form:” there is still another work. When Shlomo came and built the Temple, the Holy One, blessed be He, said: Now the work of heaven and earth is complete – “So was ended all the work.” Therefore he was called Shlomo, for the Holy One, blessed be He, completed (hishlim) the work of the six days of creation through his handiwork.

Midrash Mishlei Parashat 30, Part 4
Another explanation: “Who has established all the ends of the earth” (Mishlei 30:4) – this refers to Moshe, who established the Tent of Meeting, with which the world was established. It does not say “to set up the Mishkan,” but rather “to set up with the Mishkan” (le-hakim et ha-mishkan” (Bamidbar 7:1) – the world was set up with it. For until the Mishkan was erected, the world was unstable; but after it was erected, the world became firm. Therefore it says: “And it came to pass on the day that Moshe had finished setting up (with) the Mishkan.”

Midrash Rabbah Bamidbar 12
“To set up the Mishkan”… There we have learned (Avot 1:2): The world stands on three things – on the Torah, on the Divine service, and on acts of loving-kindness. And Moshe mentioned all three of them in one verse: “You in Your loving-kindness have led forth Your people whom you have redeemed” (Shemot 15:13) – this is loving-kindness; “You have guided them in Your strength” – this is the Torah…; “To Your holy habitation” – this is the service in the Mishkan and in the Mikdash… He guided them by virtue of the Torah which they had received before the erection of the Mishkan. What was the world like at that time? It was like a stool with two legs, which cannot stand and is unstable. When a third leg was made for it, it became firm and it stood. So, too, when the Mishkan was made… immediately, it became firm and stood. For at first the world had only two legs, loving-kindness and the Torah, and it was unstable. When a third leg was made for it, namely, the Mishkan, it immediately stood.

According to rabbinic commentary (the Midrashim), the Mishkan and the Mikdash are a continuation of the creation and its completion. Before they were built, the world was lacking, and the goal of creation had not been attained. What do you think the rabbis are trying to say here? The midrash states before the Mikdash was built, the existence of the world was not absolute and stable, for the world was established upon the Divine service, the heart of which is in the Temple.

In this week’s Torah study, we make a very important observation regarding our tent, our home, and the purpose of creation. In the Torah portion from Parashat Ki Tisa, both Moshe and the people witnessed the glory of God descending upon the tabernacle from the entrance to their homes and they worshiped. Based upon the Torah, the home (ohel, אהל, “tent”) is to be a Torah academy, a place of study (Mikdash), a place for seeking the presence of God (Mishkhan) and a place of peace, joy, and hospitality towards others, a place of worship, praise, and of speaking and teaching the Word of God (see Devarim / Deuteronomy 4:9, 6:7, and 11:19). The home is to be a place of repentance, and hopeful expectation of God dwelling and working in our midst. All of creation was meant for this purpose, for the purpose of the home and a community of people wherewith God could dwell, love, and work in our lives. This is Simchat Torah, the Joy of studying and living the Torah of God!

In conclusion, let’s think about the following questions:

Concluding questions

  1. Do you see the glory of God and His presence upon your family?
  2. Are you a facilitator? Do you encourage time spent with the Lord in His word and in prayer at home?
  3. What is the condition of your home (war or peace)?
  4. Is your hope a place of study and speaking of God’s Word?
  5. What the rabbis say about the entrance to the tent (or our homes), is their interpretation important to you?
  6. Is the Torah’s description of the home important enough to you to seek the Lord’s help to achieve what He desires? Your home to be a place of peace, joy, and hospitality towards others, a place of worship, praise, and of speaking and teaching the Word of God?

Read more here:BTT_Chol HaMo’ed Sukkot-2015

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Duane D. Miller received his Ph.D., M.S., and B.S. Degree in Chemical Engineering from The University of Akron Ohio. He is currently a Chemical Engineering Researcher. Duane’s research expertise has focused upon functional materials development for the control, conversion, and release of process gases in Energy production technologies. His R&D interests include computational chemistry, developing novel technologies for converting biomass to fuels and studying their fundamental interactions during the chemical conversion process. His past experience includes sorbent development for pre- and post-combustion CO2 and SO2 capture, selective absorption of H2S from methane streams, O2 capture for oxy-fuel combustion, photocatalytic reduction of alcohols, NOx reduction catalysis, the development of oxygen carriers to combust fossil fuels (CH4 and coal) for the chemical looping combustion processes, and the extraction of rare earth elements using patent pending sorbents. His research expertise has focused on operando-characterization using Infrared, Raman, and UV-Vis spectroscopy to observe the nature of the catalytic active sites and reaction intermediates under realistic reaction conditions, allowing direct correlation of molecular/electronic structures with catalyst performance during Gas-Solid / Liquid-Solid Adsorption and Photocatalytic Processes with real time online analysis of reaction products using ICP-MS and mass spectrometry. His current work involves a multi-disciplinary approach to developing, understanding, and improving the catalytic gasification of coal and methane, high temperature chemical looping combustion, and the catalytic decomposition and gasification of biomass and coal using novel microwave reactor.​ He has been studying the Hebrew Scriptures and the Torah for 20+ years and sharing what he has learned. The studies developed for MATSATI.COM are freely to be used by everyone, to God be the Glory!