Rabbi Kahn — Finding Today’s Tabernacle to Invite God In
D’var Archer by Rabbi Andrue Kahn
From ReformJudaism.com, March 2019
Rabbi Greenwald’s survey of the historical views on the end of the Book of Exodus provides us many perspectives as to how to understand this moment in the journey of the Israelites. This Tabernacle is the beginning of a new chapter in the continuity of Israel’s – and God’s – grand narrative. From a Reform perspective, this moment is monumental: it is one of the primary shifts in the relationship between God, Israel, and the world.
The Children of Israel journey through the wilderness on their way to the next step in their development, but this journey itself is a synecdoche for the rest of Jewish history. For the Israelites, Canaan glimmers as an abstract hope just beyond the horizon, and the memories of Egypt begin to transform into a pseudo-nostalgia for the comforts and safety of a stable existence. Already the Israelites have looked back to their time as slaves (Ex. 16:1-3) as one of plentiful food, and therefore succor, beginning to take for granted the miracles wrought for them on their way to independence.