Assembly of the Tabernacle
And Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying:
For over the Mishkan a cloud of Hashem rested by day, and fire would appear in it by night, in the view of all the house of Yisrael throughout their journeys.
Our portion — and indeed, the book of Exodus — ends with the assembly and consecration of the Tabernacle for the first time. God commands Moses to erect the Tabernacle on the first day of the first month, one year from the day He commanded Moses regarding the Exodus itself. God instructs Moses on the precise placement of all the vessels within the Tabernacle and its courtyard, and tells Moses to anoint and consecrate everything. He likewise instructs Moses to immerse Aaron and his sons in water, dress and anoint them, consecrating them and their future descendents as priests for all eternity.
When the work is completed, a cloud descends upon the Tabernacle and God’s glory fills the structure. The Torah tells us Moses could not enter the Tabernacle while God’s glory was present. We are also told that when the cloud would lift off the Tabernacle, the Children of Israel would continue their travels, resting when the cloud rested. At night, the cloud would appear as a fire. These are the same cloud and fire that accompanied Israel out of Egypt. The Israel Bible reminds us that when King Solomon builds the First Temple, in the book of Kings (I Kings 8:10-11), God’s glory also descends in the form of a cloud, while in the account in Chronicles (II Chronicles 7:1), His glory appears as fire from heaven. God’s presence is manifest.
If this book is called Exodus, and that is its overarching theme, why do you think it includes everything from receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai to the Tabernacle, ending specifically with the manifestation of God’s glory there?