Nascar’s Tabernacle Connection
The Mishkan (Tabernacle) was the portable prayer space the Israelites used for worship in the dessert. The torah gives exact measurements for materials to be used, what should go inside it and where. However, I always imagined the Mishkan to be something of a vehicle that the Israelites drove around. Whether or not that meant wheels I’m not so sure, but it might easier to think of the Mishkan as not just any car, but a NASCAR racecar.
Here are some factoids taken from this week’s Parsha, Vayakheil:
a) Moses asked the Israelites to contribute all sorts of goods- blue, purple, scarlet and fine linen; ram’s skin died red, sealskins, goats hair. They all seem a bit random, but these are in effect not just donations but sponsorships. The Israelites who donate these particular items are endorsing the product, aka the Mishkan.
b) The Mishkan, as we know from before, is a portable ark. There are pit stops along the way, where “oil changes” take place quite literally (oil was used for anointing the light).
c) The tires (or those carrying the mishkan) would be rotated on occasion.
Yesterday I watched the Daytona 500, dvr-ed a few hours earlier so I could skip commercials and most of the boring moments. At the end of the day, Trevor Bayne, riding in his second nascar race ever, won the the Daytona 500. Sponsors had yet to offer him a full year contract to drive for NASCAR. Looking at his throwback #21 car, I know that the adornments on the car, while important, don’t win you the race. The same goes for the Mishkan. For in retrospect, while the Israelites gave an excessive amount of donations, the Mishkan would not function without the nuts and bolts assembled by its artisan Betzalel. And what was the foundation on which the Mishkan was built? Wood. How ironic, then, that the 20-yr old Bayne had a foundation of his own named Wood Brothers Racing. For in NASCAR, as in life, its all about the team effort- the sponsorships, the endorsements, the nuts and bolts, the sure foundation.