(1) Now that G-d had told Israel face to face the Ten Commandments, and had further commanded them through Moses some of the precepts which are like general principles to the [individual] commandments of the Torah — in the same way that our Rabbis were accustomed to deal with strangers who come to be converted to the Jewish faith — and now that the Israelites accepted upon themselves to do all that He would command them through Moses and He made a covenant with them concerning all this, from now on they are His people and He is their G-d This is in accordance with the condition He made with them at the beginning: Now, therefore, if ye will indeed hearken unto My voice, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be Mine own treasure, and He said further: and ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. They are now holy, in that they are worthy that there be amongst them a Sanctuary through which He makes His Divine Glory dwell among them. Therefore He first commanded concerning the Tabernacle, so that He have amongst them a house dedicated to His name, from where He would speak with Moses and command the children of Israel. Thus the main purpose of the Tabernacle was to contain a place in which the Divine Glory rests, this being the ark, just as He said, And there will I meet with thee, and I will speak with thee from above the ark-cover. Therefore He first gave the commandment about the ark and the ark-cover, for they are first in importance. Next to the ark He gave the commandment about the table and the candelabrum, which are vessels just like the ark, and because they indicate the purpose for which the Tabernacle was made. Moses, however, preceded to mention in the section of Vayakheil: the Tabernacle, its Tent, and its covering, and in that order Bezalel made them [first the Tabernacle and then the ark], because from the practical end it is proper to build the house first [and then make its vessels].
The secret of the Tabernacle is that the Glory which abode upon Mount Sinai [openly] should abide upon it in a concealed manner. For just as it is said there, And the glory of the Eternal abode upon Mount Sinai, and it is further written, Behold, the Eternal our G-d hath shown us His glory and His greatness, so it is written of the Tabernacle, and the glory of the Eternal filled the Tabernacle. Twice is this verse, and the glory of the Eternal filled the Tabernacle mentioned in connection with the Tabernacle, to correspond with His glory and His greatness. Thus Israel always had with them in the Tabernacle the Glory which appeared to them on Mount Sinai. And when Moses went into the Tabernacle, he would hear the Divine utterance being spoken to him in the same way as on Mount Sinai. Thus just as it is said at the Giving of the Torah: Out of heaven He made thee to hear His voice, that He might instruct thee; and upon earth He made thee to see His great fire, so it is written of the Tabernacle, and he heard the voice speaking unto him from above the ark-cover…from between the two cherubim; and He spoke unto him. The expression “speaking unto him” is mentioned here twice in order to indicate that which the Rabbis have said in the Tradition that the Voice would come from heaven to Moses from upon the ark-cover, and from there He spoke with him; for every Divine utterance with Moses came from heaven during daytime, and was heard from between the two cherubim, similar to what is said, and thou didst hear His words out of the midst of the fire. It is for this reason that the two cherubim were made of gold. And Scripture so states: where I will meet with you, to speak there unto thee; and it shall be sanctified by My glory, for there [in the Tabernacle] will be the appointed place for the Divine utterance, and it will be sanctified by My glory.
Now he who looks carefully at the verses mentioned at the Giving of the Torah, and understands what we have written about them, will perceive the secret of the Tabernacle and the Sanctuary [built later by King Solomon]. He will also be able to understand it from what Solomon in his wisdom said in his prayer in the Sanctuary: O Eternal, the G-d of Israel, just as is said at Mount Sinai: And they saw the G-d of Israel. Solomon however added the Name the Eternal because of a matter which we have alluded to above; for the G-d of Israel sitteth upon the cherubim, just as is said: And the glory of the G-d of Israel was over them above. This is the living creature that I saw, under the G-d of Israel by the river Chebar; and I knew that they were cherubim, and David said, and gold for the pattern of the chariot, even the cherubim, that spread out their wings, and covered the ark of the covenant of the Eternal. Solomon also always mentions that the Sanctuary is to be for the name of the Eternal, or for Thy name, and at each and every section of the prayer he says, then hear Thou in heaven — with the attribute of mercy. And it is further written: If Thy people go out to battle against their enemy… and they pray unto the Eternal toward the city which Thou hast chosen, and toward the house which I have built for Thy name, then hear Thou in heaven, and in explanation Solomon said: But will G-d in very truth dwell with man on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee. And it is written concerning the ark, And David arose… to bring up from thence the ark of G-d, whereupon is called the Name, even the Name of the Eternal of hosts that sitteth upon the cherubim, and in the Book of Chronicles it is written: to bring up from thence the ark of G-d, the Eternal, Who sitteth upon the cherubim, whereon is called the Name — for it is G-d Who sitteth upon the cherubim.