In the beginning of Genesis, the Bible devotes 31 verses to describe how G-d created the entire world. In striking contrast, the Torah portions of the present weeks devote 371 verses to describe how the Jews created the tabernacle, or Mishkan, in the desert.
This seems profoundly strange.
The universe spans billions of miles and is an awesomely complex structure. After millennia of research, we have not scratched the surface of its untold depth and unbound mysteries. We have not even mastered the secrets embedded in a single atom or cell. The tabernacle, on the other hand, was around 150 feet long and 75 feet wide, and was an impressive but small tent; a little mobile "Shteibel."
Why would the Torah be so expansive about the creation of a humble albeit splendorous tent in the desert and yet so terse about the creation of the cosmos with all of its infinite grandeur?
The answer is simple and moving. For an infinite G-d to create a home for finite man is not a big deal. But for a finite man to create a home for an infinite G-d - that is an enormous revolution. It constitutes the essential revolution of Judaism.
Creation of the universe is G-d's miracle; creation of a Divine structure in a desert is man's miracle. The miracle of a human being surpassing himself, transcending his finite egocentricity and turning his life into a home for the higher energy -- that story is deserving of close to 400 verses!
This is the essence of the tabernacle story, which occupies almost half the book of Exodus and seems so remote from our present life style: that man, through his or her minute and limited deeds, words and thoughts, can create a home for G-d in his or her daily life; that a mortal, frail and vulnerable human being is capable of creating a space in his or her heart for the living presence of G-d.