The Middle Bar – Achdut Israel

הבריח התיכון - אחדות ישראל

הרב יצחק דעי

This Shabbat we will be concluding Chumash Shemot, which is defined by the Ramban as
"the book of the exile and the redemption from it." The accepted explanation of the
Ramban's words is that the full redemption of Israel doesn't end with the Exodus from Egypt
or the splitting of the sea, or even the Revelation at Mount Sinai. Instead, the redemption is
complete only when the Shechinah rests upon Israel's handiwork at the moment the
Mishkan is erected. Only when "the glory of HaShem fills the Mishkan" can Israel be
considered redeemed.
Already in the previous parshiot, the commentators have enlightened us to a multitude of
details and lofty concepts to be learned from the Mishkan and its vessels, concepts which
embody great fundamentals of each individual's Avodat HaShem as well as the approach to
Torah and Mitzvot. In the following sentences we will strive to understand an important
point which is relevant to the worldwide emergency situation we are in, and hopefully to
find a message for our conduct as a nation at this moment.
In order to connect and properly tighten the boards of the Mishkan, a bar called HaBariach
HaTichon (the middle bar) was necessary, one which passed through the boards from end to
end, as is written (Parshat Vayakhel / Shemot 36:33) "And he made the middle bar to pass
through the middle of the boards from one end to the other end." According to the simple
meaning, there were fifteen bars, five for each of the three walls of the Mishkan (on the
eastern side there was no wall, but a screen). The division was such: on each side were two
bars on top and two on the bottom, each bar covering half the width of the wall, and
another one in the middle, the length of the entire wall. Their purpose was to stabilize the
This is described explicitly in the verses: (Shemot 36:31-32) "And he made bars of acacia
wood, five for the boards of one side of the Mishkan, and five bars for the boards of the
second side of the Mishkan, and five bars for the boards of the western side of the
However, Chazal inform us - surprisingly - that the middle bar "stood by a miracle" (Shabbat
What was the miracle? "After all the boards were positioned in the sockets to the north,
west and south, he inserted it and passed it through the three sides. And no craftsman can
possibly do this and it bent miraculously by itself." The middle bar twisted through the
boards each time it had to make a turn to go to the next wall. This is a supernatural miracle,
since a wood bar cannot bend without breaking. And here we have one long wood bar which
simply bent and embraced all the three sides like a rope.
The Targum Yonatan explains: "The middle bar is seventy Amot (cubits) in length, and
(HaShem) worked wonders on it, that when they erected the Mishkan it twisted like a
snake within the boards of the Mishkan. And when it (the Mishkan) was taken apart, it (the
middle bar) would straighten out like a rod."
This raises a question. We are familiar with the principle which Chazal state in the Zohar,
that HaShem doesn't do a miracle which isn't necessary. If so, what is the point of this
miracle and what does it come to teach us? Apparently Chazal are telling us that the

Mishkan of Israel can only be stable when there is one internal force which unifies and
embraces all of it!
The Mishkan illustrates the Avodat HaShem of Klal Israel. Outwardly it includes a multitude
of implements and colors, and this is the way it should be. But our ability to be one nation,
stable and enduring, depends on our internal unity.
At this time of "a moment of adversity for Yaakov" we must stress that which unifies us and
not what divides us. We must judge others favorably and not pay heed to defamation of
them, and pray to HaShem that just as He delivered us from a multitude of other
misfortunes, so He will deliver us and remove the affliction from



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