Morning Blessings: Ma Tovu!
“How goodly are your tents, O Jacob, your dwelling places, O Israel.” (Numbers 24:5) “Jacob” is usually used to describe the masses, and “Israel” to speak of the righteous. “Tent” speaks of a synagogue of and for everyone. However, when we speak of Israel, the righteous, we use the term ‘Mishkan” to indicate that God’s Presence – Shechina – dwells – Shochein – there.
Although we use different terms, they are both praised as ‘Tov’ – an expression of the Divine Will.
When we recite this verse as we step into the synagogue, we must celebrate that we are entering a place of Tov. However, we can choose to enter the building as a Tent, or as even higher, a Mishkan, a place where we can find and connect with the Divine Presence.