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"They shall make Me a sanctuary and I shall dwell among them."
This is the mitzvah of building a sanctuary for the Divine Presence, at first the Tabernacle in the desert and later the Bet Hamikdash (Holy Temple) in Jerusalem.
The expression in this verse seems inconsistent:
It ordains the making of a sanctuary as a dwelling for the Divine Presence, but then states "I shall dwell among them" instead of "in it!"
Our sages thus explain that the Torah speaks not only of a general, central sanctuary for the nation, but also of an individual sanctuary to be "built" and established by every individual Jew.
That is, each one must transform himself and his quarters into a sanctuary for G-d: a place of Torah, Prayer and Charity, with effort that all one's thoughts, speech and deeds be for the sake of Heaven, and to infuse with holiness all that we relate to.
This individual and private sanctuary must manifest itself as such even on the physical level, by acquiring sacred items like the holy books of a Chumash and a Siddur, and a Charity-Box, and to place these into that private sanctuary.
These three items in particular are the very pillars which were the foundation of the Bet Hamikdash:
TORAH: The Bet Hamikdash housed the Holy Ark which had the two tablets on which were engraved the Ten Commandments. Indeed, the Holy Temple stood on Mount Moriah, the name of which indicates that "Hora'ah - instruction about Torah - laws emanated from there to all of Israel" by means of the Sanhedrin (Supreme Court) which was located there.
TEFILAH (Prayer): All sacrifices were offered in the Bet Hamikdash, and our prayers are the substitute for the sacrifices. In fact, of the Bet Hamikdash it is said, "For My House shall be called a House of Prayer for all nations," and "This is the Gate of Heaven."
TZEDAKAH (Charity): The flow of kindness to and for the world emanated by virtue of the holy "Table" in the Bet Hamikdash (Terumah 25:23ff.) Moreover, in the Bet Hamikdash there was a special room called the "Chamber of Secret Gifts" into which people put anonymous gifts which were used for the anonymous support of the poor.
When a Jew builds his individual sanctuary in this mode, G-d promises that "I shall dwell among and within them," just as in the central sanctuary in Jerusalem.
Moreover, intensive study of Torah, fervent Tefilah (especially for the Messianic redemption), and acts of Tzedakah, will bring about, speedily in our days, the third and permanent Bet Hamikdash to be established by Moshiach.
4:10 PM in New Brunswick, NJ
Shabbat Ends 5:13 PM
Friday, 23 Nov 2018