In Exodus 35, Moses relays God’s commandment to build the tabernacle to Israel. Before Moses actually tells the people about the tabernacle he tells them about the Sabbath. He tells them that work is not to be done on Sabbath and that they cannot kindle fire on that holy day. Only then does Moses tell them about the building of the tabernacle.
Why is this introduction necessary? Why does Israel need to hear about the importance of Sabbath before they hear about the command to build the tabernacle? And why is the prohibition against making a fire singled out from amongst all the prohibited forms of work?
Perhaps we can understand these introductory commandments when we consider the purpose of the tabernacle.
The tabernacle was to be a sanctuary in the realm of space. Israel was going to close off a certain area, fill it with their expression…
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