We are continuing our study of the various curtains in the Mishakn. In Exo 26.1 it says, “Moreover, you shall make the Mishkan with ten curtains of fine, twisted linen (shesh) and blue (techelet) and purple (argamon) and scarlet (tolat shannai); you shall make them with cherubim (keruvim), the work of a skillful workman (choshev).” If the techelet, argamon, and tolat shanni are wool, and the shesh is linen, how can they be mixed when the Torah says you can’t do that (Lev 19.19; Deut 22.11). Right away you have “kila’yim” (forbidden mixtures).
People have given many reasons as to why the Torah does not allow the mixing of wool and linen, except in the Temple garments and curtains. What people need to realize is the Temple is a different world. That is part of the message in this commandment. The priests in the Temple wore garments that were a mixture of wool and linen. They represent the “perfect man” Adam before the fall, and they have a higher level of kedusha. The High Priest also wore garments with a mixture of wool and linen, and he represents the Messiah and has a higher kedusha than the ordinary priest.
These curtains have a mixture of wool and linen, too. The term “skillful workman” is “choshev” and it will involve a particular type of weaving. There is another word “embroidered”with the meaning of a flat design, and on the back there will be a bunch of stitches. But, when the word “choshev” (skillful workman) is used, it means yuou have one design on the front and a different design on the back.
The strands of each are six-ply. You will have six strands of techelet, six argamon, six tolat shanni and six shesh. Six times four is twenty-four, and twenty-four parts equal one thread. Twenty-four is an allusion to twenty-four districts in Israel, the priests were divided into twenty-four mishmarot (divisions), the Levites were divided into twenty-four mishmarot (divisions), the Ma’amad (standing men) were divided into twenty-four delegations, the Book of Revelation describes twenty-four thrones.
The length of each curtain was 28 cubits (44.8 feet). The width of each curtain was 4 cubits (6.4 feet). These have the same measurements, or “one measure” for all the curtains, and they will be interconnected. We know the five handbreadth cubit of 19.2 inches was used here, called the cubit of Moses (Mishnah, Kelim 17.9-10). Now, how many threads would go into a 44.8 times 6.4 foot curtain? Each thread was made up of twenty-four strands. Like the stars, you can’t count them, but like the universe they are part of “one measure.” Right away we see there is a lot more that is there in Exo 26.1 than we would think on the surface.
Exo 26.3-6 tells us that five curtains shall be joined to one another, and the other five curtains joined to one another. There are fifty loops on one, fifty gold clamps on the second curtain every 10.7 inches (44.8 x 12 divided by fifty = 10.7) to each other. In Hebrew it says “sister piece (“ach’tah”). This is to make the Mishkan a “unit” (echad/composite unity). This is the first layer over the Mishkan
Exo 26.7-13 is the second layer over the Mishkan. It is made of goats hair for a tent over the Mishkan. They were to make eleven curtains in all. The length of each curtain would be 30 cubits (48 feet) and the width was 4 cubits (6.4 feet). They joined five curtains by themselves, and six curtains by themselves. The sixth curtain was doubled over in the front of the tent.
They made fifty loops at the edge of the curtain that is the outermost in the first set, and fifty loops on the edge of the curtain that is the outermost on the second set. Fifty clasps (hooks) of bronze were made and put into the loops and joined together, that they may be a “unit” (echad/composite unity). The overlapping part that is left over in the curtains of the tent, the half curtain that is left, shall lap over the back of the Mishkan on the west side. And the cubit (19.2 inches) on one side and the cubit on the other (19.2 inches) on the other of what is left over in the length of the curtains of the tent shall lap over the sides of the Mishkan on one side, and on the other, to cover it.
Exo 26.14 says that the third covering was rams’skins dyed red (alluding to being under the blood). The fourth covering was made of “tachashim” or “dugong” (porpoise) skins. The dugong was a marine animal and very plentiful in the Red Sea. They were 12 to 30 feet long and easily caught. They grazed on seaweed. This fourth covering was exposed to rain, snow, sun, wind and all weather conditions. It looked drab, with no beauty in it. One had to be inside the Mishkan to see and appreciate the beauty. Let’s go back and pick up something. The word for “ram’s skins” dyed red is “m’adumim.” Now, that word alludes to the Messiah and the redemption in the following ways.
When we say “Shaddai” it is written with a shin, dalet, yud. When we want to say shaddai in writing, we don’t need to write it out, we just write a shin. The Aaronic Blessing is said with the hand forming a shin. The “aleph” alone can mean “Elohim” (aleph, lamed, hey, yud, mem). The word “Adam” is spelled with an aleph, dalet and mem. As we have seen, the “aleph” can mean “Elohim” (God) and the dalet and mem (dam) means “blood.” Put these together, one of the meanings for the name Adam is “blood (dam) of God (aleph).” The word “adumim” is the word used for the ram’s skins dyed “red.” They have the same root. The Parah Adumah is the “Red Heifer.”
When we think of Jacob and Esau, we shouldn’t think of Jacob as being perfect. He was a suplanter when it came to the rights of his brother as first-born. Now, granted, this was the plan of God before they were ever born, but Jacob saw the value in it when Esau didn’t. Esau was from Seir, meaning “goats” or “rough and hairy.” remember, one of the coverings was made from goat’s hair. When we think of Esau, we think of a hairy person. Esau was “earthy” which is what Adam means also. Esau was also called “Edom” meaning “red” in Gen 25.30, and Edom is spelled with an aleph, dalet vav and mem. It has the same root as Adam. Now, you won’t pick up these subtleties up in English, they can only be seen in Hebrew, but even the english renderings has some similarity.
In Part 51, we will pick up in Exo 27.9-18 with the curtains of the courtyard.