The pessukim in this week’s parshah call the Mishkan “אהל מועד.” What does this mean?
Onkelos translates אהל מועד as משכן זמנא which means a Transitory Tent. The word זמנא means a time as it states in Breishis ולמועדים which Onkelos translates ולזמנין, and for times. The sefer HaKsav V’hakabalah explains that the Mishkan was temporary, as it was only built for a short time. When Bnei Yisrael traveled they took down the entire Mishkan and when they camped they rebuilt it. Also, it was only built for the time that they camped throughout forty years in the desert. Rashbi explains that the word מועד hints to a place where the Shechinah rested from time to time. However, the Beis HaMikdash which Shlomo HaMelech built is called מנוחה a resting place, as it states זאת מנוחתי עדי עד מכון לשבתך עולמים. The Torah calls the Beis HaMikdash מנוחה, and in addition נחלה, as it states אל המנוחה ואל הנחלה, to the resting place and to the place of inheritance. The Beis HaMikdosh was a permanent dwelling place of the Shechinah which stood for hundreds of years.
The Nefesh HaGer offers a different explanation in Onkelos. The words אהל מועד which are translated as זמנא משכן mean a Tent of Meeting. The translation of זמנא means to meet, as it statesונועדתי שמה לבני ישראל which Onkelos translates ואזמן and I will meet. This is as Rashi explains: Hashem says, “I will become known to Bnei Yisrael by speaking to them, as a King who sets a meeting place to speak with his servants.” The אהל מועד was the Tent of Meeting, where Hashem met with Moshe and Yisrael.
The passuk states in Parshas Terumah ונועדתי לך שם ודברתי אתך מעל הכפרת מבין שני הכרבים…” and I will meet you there and I will speak with you from between the two Keruvim all that I will command about Bnei Yisrael.” The Gemara brings that when Yisrael fulfill the will of Hashem the Keruvim faced each other, if not, they faced towards the entrance of the house. The Maharsha explains when the Keruvim faced each other it symbolized the love of Hashem with Bnei Yisrael. However, when they faced the entrance, it symbolized departure, as though going away and distancing from each other. Throughout all the years in the Midbar the Keruvim faced each other reflecting the love of Hashem, because the Shechinah did not depart from Bnei Yisrael the entire time. However during the time of the Beis HaMikdash, the Keruvim faced towards the entrance since they sinned, reflecting the Shechinah’s departure.
May Hashem rebuild the Beis HaMikdash and return His Shechinah with Bnei Yisrael permanently!