Moshe gathered the nation. He instructed them to keep Shabbat, mentioning specifically the prohibition to kindle a fire. He then asked them to volunteer the materials needed for the construction of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) and the priestly garments. These materials are gold, silver, copper; turquoise, purple and scarlet wool; linen, goat hair; dyed ram skins, skins of the tachash animal, acacia wood, oil, specific spices and particular precious stones (for placing in the Kohen Gadol’s garments).

The people responded positively to Moshe’s request and “every man and woman whose heart motivated them” brought the various materials requested.

Moshe announced the appointment of the wisehearted Betzalel and Aholiav to oversee the construction, assisted by able craftsmen. When they collected the materials volunteered, they found that there was a surplus. Moshe asked that a message be sent throughout the camp not to bring any more materials.

The work started with the ten yeriyot (curtains) and the golden hooks joining them together. This was followed by the ohel (tent), draped over the Mishkan, with a further double michse (cover) on top.

Next the craftsmen made the parochet (partition) to cordon off the Holy of Holies area. Betzalel made the aron (ark) from acacia wood, plated with gold and with a gold zer (crown). The kaporet (cover) of the aron was made from pure gold, with two keruvim (cherubs) moulded on top. The shulchan (table) was made from gold-plated acacia wood, with a gold zer (crown) on its misgeret (rim).

The menorah was hammered from one piece of pure gold, with seven lamps. The gold-plated small wooden mizbeach (altar) was constructed for the twice-daily incense offering.

The special anointing oil and the incense spices were prepared. The workers then constructed a copper kiyor (washstand) for the Kohanim, followed by the chatzer (courtyard) which surrounded the Mishkan, making its outer ‘fence’ of linen yeriyot (curtains), attached to wooden pillars.

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