By Rav Shmuel Brazil
One of the components of the Mishkan was the Techashim, as Rashi writes it was an undomesticated animal brought into existence only for the short time of building the Mishkan.
Rashi brings the Targum translation of the word Techashim as sasgonah which is a combination of two words: sas which means to be happy. And gonah which means colors. Literally this translates as that this animal was very happy with its many decorative colors. So now we know a little bit more about this one time species and that it was multi colored and it was happy about it.
What message can we derive from this unique animal whose whole purpose and creation was exclusively for constructing the abode for the Shecinah’s dwelling? May I suggest the following.
The passuk says Veasu lee mikdash veshachanti besocham. The Alschich writes that the purpose of the Mishkan was for to be a model for Hashem to dwell within the heart of each Jewish individual. The Malbin goes even further to say that each vessel in the Mishkan paralleled a body part of the human being. It was only when the inner sanctuary of the Yid became destroyed did it trigger the destruction of the outer temple. Well how then does one go about making himself a Tabernacle? The first requirement is to realize that he is one of a kind with unique strengths and weaknesses that is not duplicated and will not be duplicated in the future. This uniqueness is called one’s colors. Nowadays to pick a paint color is almost impossible there are so many tints and hues that differ so slightly from one another yet the final job has a different look. So too every Yid has his unique color with which to fulfill his mission and build his Mishkan and Haichal [sanctuary] to Hashem.
Take the word gevan which means color in lashon hakodesh. The gematriah of gevan is 65 which is the same gemartriah as haichal. For it is by means of one’s color that he builds his personal one of a kind Mishkan in honor of Hashem. Another word for color in lashon hakodesh is tzeva whose letters can be constructed to form two other words: betzah which means gain and profit, and the word etzev which means sadness. For the tzevah of each individual can be viewed as something profitable or something to make him sad. If one looks around and compares himself to others he might be saddened and complain saying why am I not as smart and talented as my friend. This is not the proper hashkafa. Each person’s gevan has been meticulously tailor made and formulated to fit a one of a kind mission in this world. If we succeed it does not matter the raw materials that we were given but rather if we became the best we could be.
Our Chazal teach us Aizehu ashir hasameach bechelko. The rich person is one who is happy with his lot. The Chassidim say that word ashir is the acronym of ainayim [eyes] shinayim [teeth] yadayim [hands] raglayim [feet]. When a person has all these limbs functioning the way they should then he is the rich man. For if one’s eyes for example stop functioning chas veshalom no money in the world would be able to replace such a simple expected taken for granted function. Likewise if one is happy with his lot he truly is a rich individual.
The skins of the Techashim were used for the covering of the Mishkan.. so too each Yid in order to build his Mishkan he must be happy with his colors that Hashem gave him which are the tools to fulfill his one of a kind mission in this world. And just as the Tachash who was around on earth only for a short period of time, so too each Yid must realize that he is on earth only for a very limited time which has no guarantee one day to the next.. as Chazal say hayom katzar vehamelacha merubah
Shabbos kodesh can help a Yid acquire an appreciation of his colors. The sefarim explain that shabbos in the realm of time is parallel to mishkan in the dimension of space. The passuk in the parsha of shabbos says al yetzai eesh memekomo beyom hasahbbos that one is not allowed to leave his place on the shabbos. This is referring to leaving the techum shabbos which is prohibited. However the sefarim explain that one on shabbos does not leave his place which is like saying leaving his color. For shabbos with its extra neshama sheds light and insight to the yid into realizing his specialty amongst all Yisrael. The passuk also says that Hashem blessed the Shabbos upon which the Medrash quotes the passuk birkas Hashem hee taashir veloh soseef etzev eemah that the beracha of Hashem on Shabbos makes one rich [the realization that to be happy with his lot] and it is not accompanied by sadness or melancholy. On Shabbos there is only “betzah” gain and profit no “etzev”.
This is what the Techashim symbolize and how by understanding its purpose we can build our own Mishkan to Hashem. We can always rely on Shabbos to pump up our own colors and talents and to be happy with them as the Techashim. Well here comes an incredible gematriah: techashim equals “beyom shabbos”. This implies that on Shabbos we have the segualh to attain the level of the Techashim in building our unique haichal and Mishkan to Hashem.