The Mitzvah to build the Mishkan is worded ועשו לי מקדש ושכנתי בתוכם. Literally it translates “build for me a sanctuary and I will dwell within them”. From this, our sages derive that Hashem’s true desire is not to dwell within the physical structure of the Mishkan, but that His presence rests within each one of us.
The Alter Rebbe shows how the very design of the Mishkan mirrors the composition of the human body.
The Mishkan walls were made from upright beams of acacia wood. These are like the bone structure, which supports the body and allows it to stand. The covering of the Mishkan was made up of layers of materials and tapestries that draped over the walls. The coverings are like the flesh and skin which covers over our bones.
The Keilim (vessels) that were placed inside the Mishkan represent the internal organs of the body. From these organs, the Kabbalists identify 3 primary organs which are the ‘rulers’ within a person; the brain, heart and liver.
The names of these organs – Mo’ach, Lev, Kaved, form an acrostic for Melech (king), alluding to the fact that they control and drive our behaviour. Modern psychology refers to these as the three ‘minds’ – the brain (intellect), the heart (emotion) and the gut (instinct).
The Aron which contained the Luchos – the wisdom of Hashem, corresponds to the brain. The incense altar in the centre of the Mishkan is like the heart. The outer sacrificial altar represents the liver or gut.
To become a Mishkan for Hashem’s presence, we need to bring consciousness of Hashem into every part of our psyche and to use every part of our being in His service.
~ Likutei Torah Nasso page 44