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Exodus Chapter 26
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The Tabernacle
26:1 Make the tabernacle out of ten large tapestries consisting of twined linen, and sky-blue, dark red, and crimson [wool], with a pattern of cherubs woven into them.
26:2 Each tapestry shall be 28 cubits long and 4 cubits wide, with each tapestry the same size.
26:3 The [first] five tapestries shall be sewn together, and the [second] five shall [also] be sewn together.
26:4 Make loops of sky-blue wool at the edge of the innermost tapestry of the first group. Do the same on the edge of the innermost tapestry of the second group.
26:5 Place 50 loops on the one tapestry, and 50 on the edge of the tapestry in the second group. [The two sets of loops shall be made so that] the loops are exactly opposite one another.
26:6 Make 50 golden fasteners. The two [groups of] tapestries will then be able to be joined together, so that the tabernacle will be one piece.
26:7 Make sheets of goat's wool to serve as a tent over the tabernacle. There shall be 11 such sheets,
26:8 and each sheet shall be 30 cubits long, and 4 cubits wide. All 11 sheets must be the same size.
26:9 Sew together the [first] five sheets by themselves, and the [other] six sheets by themselves. Half of the sixth sheet shall hang over the front of the tent.
26:10 Make 50 loops on the edge of the innermost sheet of the first group, and 50 loops on the edge of the innermost sheet of the second group.
26:11 Make 50 copper fasteners. Place the fasteners in the loops, bringing the tent together and making it one.
26:12 There will then remain an extra portion from what is left over in [the breadth] of the sheets of the tent. The extra half sheet shall trail behind the back of the tabernacle.
26:13 The extra cubit on both sides in the length of the tent's sheets shall hang down over the sides of the [tapestries of the] tabernacle to cover them on both sides.
26:14 Make a roof for the tent out of reddened rams' skins. Above it make a roof out of the blue processed hides.

The Beams
26:15 Make upright beams for the tabernacle out of acacia wood.
26:16 Each beam shall be 10 cubits long, and one and a half cubits wide.
26:17 Each beam shall have two matching square pegs [carved out at the bottom]. All the beams for the tabernacle must be made in this manner.
26:18 Make 20 beams for the southern side of the tabernacle.
26:19 Place 40 silver bases under the 20 beams. There shall be two bases under each beam, one [to hold] each peg.
26:20 For the second side of the tabernacle to the north, there shall [likewise] be 20 beams
26:21 and 40 silver bases. [Here too] there shall be two sockets under each and every beam.
26:22 Make six beams for the west side of the tabernacle,
26:23 and place [another] two beams at the corners.
26:24 [All the beams] must be exactly next to each other on the bottom. [Every pair] shall also be [joined] together evenly on top with a [square] ring. This shall also be done with the two [beams] on the two corners.
26:25 Thus, [on the west side] there will be [a total of] eight beams and 16 silver bases, two bases under each and every beam.
26:26 Make crossbars out of acacia wood. There shall be five for the beams of the first side of the tabernacle [to the south].
26:27 [There shall also be] five for the beams of the second side [to the north], and five for the beams of the tabernacle on the western wall.
26:28 [Of these], the center crossbar shall go through the middle of the beams, from one end [of the tabernacle] to the other.
26:29 Cover the beams with a layer of gold. Also make gold rings [on the beams] to hold the crossbars. The crossbars shall also be covered with a layer of gold.
26:30 You will then be ready to set up the tabernacle in the proper manner, as you were shown on the mountain.

The Cloth Partition
26:31 Make a cloth partition out of sky-blue, dark red and crimson [wool, woven together] with twined linen. Cherubs shall be woven into it [so that they can be seen on both sides].
26:32 Place it on four gold-covered acacia pillars having gold hooks. [The pillars shall be] set in four silver sockets.
26:33 Place the cloth partition directly under the fastenings [holding the tapestries together].

Into the space behind this curtain you will bring the Ark of Testimony. This curtain will thus divide between the Sanctuary and the Holy of Holies.

26:34 You will then place the cover on the Ark of Testimony in the Holy of Holies.
26:35 Place the table outside the curtain, toward the northern wall of the tabernacle. The menorah shall be opposite the table, toward the southern wall of the tabernacle.
26:36 Make a drape for the entrance of the tent, out of sky-blue, dark red and crimson wool, and twined linen. It shall be embroidered work.
26:37 Make five acacia pillars to hold the drape. Cover them with a layer of gold and place golden hooks on them. Cast five copper bases for [the pillars].



Commentary:

tabernacle
  These tapestries constituted the tabernacle proper. See Exodus 36:8 ff.

twined linen
  The threads were made of six thinner threads twisted together. The colored wools were also twined together with the linen to form a single thread, with various colors dominating (Yad, Kley HaMikdash 8:14).

cherubs
  See note on Exodus 25:18. Some say that there was a pattern of cherubs (Midrash HaGadol), while others maintain that there were two cherubs on each curtain (Rabbenu Meyuchas).

woven into
  So that the form could be seen on both sides of the tapestry (Yoma 72b; Rashi; Yad, Kley HaMikdash 8:15).

28 cubits long...
  Each curtain was 42' x 6'. This was the maximum width that could be woven practically.

sewn
  (Rashi; Rashbam; cf. Shabbath 99a, Rashi ad loc. s.v. VeNere'in). Literally, 'attached.'

fasteners
  Keres in Hebrew. Some say that they were shaped like knees (Ibn Ezra from Isaiah 46:1); they were therefore angular in shape, something like a staple (Maaseh Choshev 4:2). Others say that they had hooks at both ends to go through the loops (Radak, Sherashim). Still others describe them as being 1/2 fingerbreadth long (3/8'), with bulbs at both ends to go through the loops (Rabbenu Meyuchas).

one piece
  The entire array was therefore 28 x 40 cubits (42' x 60'). As we shall soon see, the interior of the tabernacle was 10 x 30 cubits. Since the beams were one cubit thick, the exterior dimensions were 12 x 31 cubits. The height of the tabernacle was 10 cubits (Exodus 26:16). Therefore, when the tapestries were placed over the beams, they left the lower 2 cubits of the beams exposed on the sides, and the lower cubit exposed in the back.

There is another opinion (see Exodus 26:24) that the beams were wedge-shaped, only one fingerbreadth (3/4') on top. According to this, the outer dimension of the beams on top was only 10 x 30 cubits, and only the lower cubit of the beams was exposed on the sides. This was the part of the beams covered with the bases. In the back of the tabernacle, even the bases were covered (Shabbath 98b).

According to another opinion, only the bottom cubit was exposed all around (Josephus 3:6:4).

30 cubits...
  Each curtain was 45' x 6'. These sheets were 2 cubits longer than the tapestries. They therefore hung down on the sides one cubit below the tapestries. Regarding the back, see below.

shall hang over
  (Rashbam; Rashi, Shabbath 98b, s.v. Tartey). Thus, the goats' wool sheet hung down 2 cubits (3 feet) over the front of the tabernacle. According to others, the pillars in front of the tabernacle (Exodus 36:37) took up another cubit, so that the sheet hung down only one cubit (18') (Maaseh Choshev 4:5).

The verse can also be translated (more literally), 'fold the sixth sheet down over the opening of the tent.' According to this, the entire sixth sheet was over the front of the tent (Bareitha Melekheth HaMishkan 3). According to this second opinion, the fasteners of the goats' wool sheets would be directly over those of the tapestries (cf. Rashi on Exodus 26:5).

According to one opinion, the corners of this overhanging curtain were folded back, giving the entrance a triangular appearance (Josephus 3:6:4).

front
  The eastern side.

loops
  From goats' wool, like the sheets themselves (Abarbanel; Maaseh Choshev 4:4). One opinion maintains that the loops were of blue wool (Torah Sh'lemah 26:18).

The extra half sheet...
  Since there were 11 sheets, and half a sheet hung down over the front of the tabernacle (Exodus 26:9). This half sheet was 2 cubits wide. According to the one who holds that the beams were a cubit wide on top, (see Exodus 26:6, 26:24), one cubit covered the bases, and one cubit trailed on the ground behind the tabernacle. According to the one who holds that the beams were narrow on top, two cubits trailed behind (Shabbath 98b). Some say that the curtains did not actually trail on the ground, but were held away from the tabernacle by the stakes (Bekhor Shor; Chizzkuni).

As mentioned above, (Exodus 26:9), there is an opinion that the entire sixth sheet hung over the front of the tabernacle. This would follow the opinion that the beams were narrow on top, and that the covering hung down a full 10 cubits in the back. This verse would then be translated, 'The remainder of the tent's sheets shall hang down. Half of [the first group] of remaining sheets shall hang down over the rear of the tabernacle.' The group of 5 sheets was 20 cubits wide, and half of it would be the 10 cubits of the height of the tabernacle.

back
  The west side.

roof
  Literally 'covering.'

Above it
  This is disputed; according to some, there was a single covering, made of the red and blue hides (Bareitha 3).

10 cubits...
  The beams were therefore 15' x 2'3'. They were one cubit thick. According to some, they were wedge-shaped, a cubit thick on the bottom, and one fingerbreadth (3/4') on top (Shabbath 98b). Other sources indicate that they were a handbreadth (3') thick (Josephus 3:6:3; cf. Abarbanel).

matching
  (Rashbam), or 'parallel' (Radak, Sherashim, cf. 1 Kings 7:28), or 'tapered' (Rashi).

Others translate the verse, 'Each beam shall have two pegs, [and they shall also] be plugged into one another.' This indicates that on the sides of the beams there were pegs and holes to receive them (Ramban; Bareitha 1). These pegs were 3 3/4 cubits (5' 7 1/2') from each end of the beams (Maaseh Choshev 2:7).

square pegs
  These were 1 cubit long so that they were covered by the bases (Exodus 26:19). These pegs were formed by carving around 1/3 inch (0.9 cm) all around the beam, and a notch twice as thick in the center (Ramban; see note on Exodus 26:18). According to others, each peg was 1/2 x 1/4 cubit (9' x 4 1/2'), and was made by carving out 1/4 cubit all around the beam, and 1/2 cubit in the middle (Rashi; Maaseh Choshev 4:8).

20 beams
  Since each beam was 1 1/2 cubits wide, the wall was 30 cubits (45') long.

silver bases
  The outer dimensions of each base were one cubit high, one cubit thick, and 3/4 wide, one half the width of a beam. It is simple to calculate that the walls of the bases could have been no more than around 1/3 inch (0.9 cm.) thick.

[Each base weighed one talent (Exodus 38:27), which is 150 pounds or 68.4 kg (see note on Exodus 25:39). Since silver has a specific gravity of 10.5, each base had a volume of 6514 cc. The circumference of each base was 3 1/2 cubits or 160 cm. and its height was one cubit or 45.72 cm. By simple division, the width of a wall comes out to be 0.9 cm. thick.].

According to the opinion that the walls of the bases were 1/4 cubit thick (Rashi on Exodus 26:17), we must say that the bases were hollow. (If they were solid, each base would weigh 627 kg. or over 9 talents, in contradiction to an explicit verse stating that each one weighed only one talent).

six beams
  For a width of 9 cubits.

two beams...
  Adding another 3 cubits, making the outside of the western wall 12 cubits (18') long. According to the opinion that the beams were tapered on top, the corner beams were special, since they came to a point on top (Shabbath 98b). According to the opinion that the beams were only a handbreadth thick, these corner beams were a cubit square (Josephus 4:6:3).

square ring
  (Maaseh Choshev 2:6). These rings fitted into slots on the tops of the beams, joining each pair together (Rashi; Bareitha 1) (see figure). Some sources, however indicate that the rings here are those through which the crossbars (Exodus 26:26) passed (Bareitha 1; Ramban).

joined together evenly
  According to the opinion that the beams were as wide on top as they were on the bottom. According to the opinion that the beams were wedge-shaped, this verse is translated, 'they shall be tapered on top, [with each pair joined] by a single ring' (Shabbath 98b).

five
  Four of these, for the top and bottom, were half the length of the wall, while the fifth, for the center (Exodus 26:28), was the entire length of the wall (Rashi; Bareitha 1). One source states that these crossbars consisted of sections 5 cubits (7 1/2') long that plugged into one another (Josephus 4:6:3). They were placed through rings, one fourth of the way from the top and bottom of the beams (Maaseh Choshev 2:3).

rings
  Round rings (Maaseh Choshev 2:3). Some say that they were open on top, to take the crossbars (Abarbanel).

as you were shown...
  This would indicate that the commandment came after the 40 days (see note on Exodus 25:1).

cloth partition
  Parocheth in Hebrew. The same word is now used for the covering of the Torah ark.

pillars
  These were one cubit by 3/4 cubit (18' x 13 1/2'), half the width of the pillars on the outside, and the exact size to fit a single base (Maaseh Choshev 3:1). Others say that these pillars were the same as the ones on the outside (Abarbanel).

under the fastenings
  This was 10 cubits from the inner wall. The Holy of Holies was therefore 10 x 10 cubits (15' x 15'). It was perfectly cubical in shape. (Bareitha 4).

embroidered
  (Yoma 72a).

pillars
  These pillars had a cross section of one cubit square (Bareitha of 49 Middoth in Yalkut Shimoni 422; Maaseh Choshev 3:3).





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