The Presence of the Almighty

Question

How could a building like the Mishkan or the Beit HaMikdash, or a natural phenomenon like a cloud (at Har Sinai) contain the Presence of the Almighty (Ubiquitous, the infinite volume; omnipotent; omnipresent; omniscient etc. G-d)?

1 Kings 8:12-13; Schneerson: “With the commandment to erect a Sanctuary, G-d gave the promise ‘I will dwell within’. That promise was fulfilled with the manifestation of G-d’s Presence in the Sanctuary. The Divine Presence within our material world. [I.e. His immanent presence, rather than יהוה Himself see 1 Kings 8:27].

3 months

Answers

  1. As you write, God is Omnipresent and does not “need” a resting place in this world. However, the Mishkan (and afterward the Temple) is the physical symbol of the Jewish Nation’s closeness to God. The Sages teach that it is as if God is saying that a part of Him will dwell within the Jewish People to emphasize the uniqueness of our relationship. That is also why the Sages teach that from the time of the destruction of the Holy Temple each Jewish home has the potential to become a “Mishkan Me’at” – a small Tabernacle – a place where the Divine Presence can dwell.

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