Kinah 12: My Tent
“My tent, that You yearned, even before Creation, to align with Your celestial Throne of Glory, why is it forever plundered by the hands of the plunderers?” Each stanza of this Kinah begins with “My tent,” alluding to the Mishkan and the Beit Hamikdash. This developed from, “He bent his bow like an enemy. His right hand poised like a foe, He slew all who were of pleasant appearance. In the Tent of the Daughter of Zion He poured out His wrath like fire.” (Lamentations 2:4)
Rabbi Avraham Galanti (Kol Bochim) explains that we can understand this by imagining the world as the inside of a tent with the cover being the Presence of God that hovers above and protects and nurtures all that lays within. The tent itself is magnificent. It shines its light on everything inside, so that everything within reflects the glory of the tent itself.
We find the first allusion to this idea in the opening verses of the Torah, “And the Divine Presence hovered upon the surface of the waters.” (Genesis 1:2) Rashi comments, “The Divine Throne floated in the air and hovered over the water with the Ruach, or wind, from God’s mouth, and His Word, like a dove that hovers over her nest.”
The creation of the world began with God “Tenting” over the earth. God protected His creation as a mother bird hovers over her nest protecting her eggs.
God used a similar process when creating Adam: “A mist ascended from the earth and watered the whole surface of the soil. And God the Lord, formed the man of dust from the ground, and He blew into his nostrils the soul of life; and the man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:6-7) The Talmud sees that mist as a tent, so much so that it derives the laws of Succah from the verse.
The mist formed a tent and nurtured life within.
The Mishkan and Beit Hamikdash were miniature creations of the world and man. The Mishkan’s coverings, and the Temple’s roof, portrayed God’s Presence hovering over His creation, protecting and nurturing.
This is why we have so many powerful descriptions of “My Tent,” the Beit Hamikdash, in this Kinah: Yearned before Creation, You guided with clouds of splendor, You positioned as a foundation, and more. “MyTent” was a powerful symbol of God’s active involvement in His creation; the world and man.
In is inevitable that we wonder about God’s continued role in Creation and our lives when this awesome symbol was destroyed by God. We, who lived in the safety of God’s Presence are lost when we are forced to live in the “open skies,” of this world, without the clarity of God hovering above, protecting and nurturing.
The Kinah ends:
“After and before,
both this time and that,
in each and every generation God’s anger
and protective shelter are made known.
So why, of all nations,
has He pressed His hand upon me?
This is evident, although my destruction is engraved upon His palm,
nevertheless, my healing is certain, for His anger is but for a moment.
How has He clouded me
in His anger?
“in each and every generation God’s anger and protective shelter are made known,” we can find God’s shelter even now, without “My Tent,” but as long as “He clouds me in His anger,” I will wonder, where is My Tent.
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