This week’s Torah portion, Vayakhel, describes the construction of the Tabernacle in the desert and its furnishings. Among the detailed instructions of how to make the Tabernacle is the following verse (Ex. 25:18): “They shall make the stakes of the Tabernacle and the pins of the courtyards and their tying ropes.”
Rashi explains that the stakes were inserted into the ground to fasten the edges of the curtains so that they would not flap because of the wind, and the ropes were used for binding them.
There is a moral to be derived from this:
The generations that preceded us can be compared to the builders of the Tabernacle itself. Our own generation, the last one before the coming of Moshiach, can be compared to those who tie the edges of the curtains to the stakes in the ground so they will not flap loosely in the wind.
In the overall stature of Israel’s history, our generation is the very “heel” – the lowest part of the body – while our predecessors are like the brains, heart and other “higher” parts of the body. Our task and mission is likewise the “last” or “heel”-labour to complete and finish all that is still required to bring about the Messianic redemption. Ours may be the “lowest” task, merely tying down the very edges of the curtains, some rather incidental and external details. Nonetheless, it is just this work that completes the whole job, and it is specifically what we do that will fasten the Tabernacle so that it may stand firm.
We are indeed the “heel”-generation, time-wise and quality-wise, compared to all those before us. This may raise the question: Is the generation worthy? Why should we merit the coming of Moshiach when our ancestors, who were greater saints and scholars then we are, did not? Nonetheless, the fact is that we are the ones who complete the work. The credit and merit, therefore, is attributed to our generation. Our sages thus said that a meritorious deed is attributed to him who does the last part of it and completes it (Sotah 13b).
Moreover, the edges of the curtains were to be tied to the pegs that were fixed in the ground, the earth. This alludes to the very purpose of the Sanctuary, namely, to bring about an indwelling of the Divine Presence in the Tabernacle which was to be a physical abode established specifically here on earth. This, indeed, is the very task and purpose of our generation. We are to draw the Divine Presence all the way down to the very earthiness of this material world, and this will happen with the coming of Moshiach and the ultimate Redemption. Moshiach NOW!!!