Pekudei: Chapter 26

Measuring line and measuring reed


Rabbi Elazar opens with: "And He brought me there, and behold, there was a man, whose appearance was like the appearance of brass, with a thread of flax in his hand, and a measuring reed, and he stood by the gate." He explains that the 'appearance of brass' meant that the man, the messenger Gabriel, shone with brightness and holiness. He talks about the measuring reed and the measuring line and about how the measuring line was knotted to do the measurements for the Tabernacle when it was under construction. He reveals the meaning of how 'cubit' was used, and mentions the thirty-two paths of wisdom. He also emphasizes the numbers four, seven and twnenty-eight. We are told that there is measurement both above and below, in Binah and in Malchut. He speaks of the ten curtains and their measurements, and the sacred colors alluding to Chesed, Gvurah, Tiferet and Malchut. The curtains allude to poverty and judgment and they cover and protect holiness so that nothing outside can derive nourishment from them. Holiness is kept inside and the Other Side is outside, therefore holiness is compared to a nut that has the fruit inside.

Rabbi Elazar explains how adding to letters to numbers actually lessens their value. We hear that the measuring line was also used to measure the size of the boards that are the secret of the Seraphim in Briyah. He goes into great detail about the size of the proportions of the boards and the secret of the measurements. The curtains of the tabernacle are the secret of heaven, and their inner meaning comes out of the number thirty-two. There are curtains of good and curtains of evil, so that people can learn to distinguish between good and evil and can begin to know the Wisdom in everything. They can learn to distinguish between something that is established by wisdom and something that is not.

Next there is a description of the measurements of the ark, and we hear that it also enables the discernment of good and evil. Rabbi Elazar tells us that all the measuring done by Ezekiel for the mansion was with the measuring reed rather than the measuring line because he was working with stone and things that would not change. But in the future his mansion will expand on all sides and there will be no Judgment in the world.

He concludes by saying that when God renews the world it will be finally connected to the Upper World and all will be one.