In this week’s Parsha, Parshat Pekudei, the Torah concludes Sefer Shemot with the completion of the Mishkan. The Mishkan would serve as a resting place for the Shechina. A powerful question is why we need this resting place if Hashem’s presence is all around us? Why do we need to build one special place for Him?
There are two Midrashim that offer two completely different points of view. One Midrash states that after the sin with the Golden Calf, Hashem decided that since Bnai Yisrael had allowed idolatry and sin amongst them, He too, could not dwell amongst them. Of course, Hashem realized He could not completely abandon them, so he commanded them to make the Mishkan. In this Midrash, the Mishkan is viewed as a place that would assist Bnai Yisrael in becoming holier.
However, the other Midrash that takes a different approach. It relates the story of a king who married off his daughter to a prince. After the wedding, the prince planned to take the daughter to his homeland. The King responded, “I cannot bear to let my daughter leave me, but you cannot stay here. Please make in your home a small place for me to live in.” The same is true for Hashem and Bnai Yisrael. Hashem gave us the Torah. He could not part with it, and He could not take it away from us. Therefore, He asked us to build for Him a small place to live amongst. The Midrash portrays the Mishkan as a place of love between Hashem, Bnai Yisrael, and the Torah.