The beams that constituted the walls of the Mishkan seem to be free standing. They did have rings at the top to hold them to each other and there was the 2 outer bars and one inner bar that also acted to strengthen the walls, however, with the weight of the roof coverings (or maybe even without them) it seems hard to imagine how all those beams remained upright and didn't lean in or collapse onto each other. If one imagines that there may have been ropes on the edges of the coverings holding them in place that would put even more stress on the top of the beams encouraging them to lean or collapse inward.

The same questions applies to the five beams at the front entrance on the east side (in particular the three inner ones) as they were free standing and held a curtain on them. Also the four beams separating the Kodesh from the Kodesh Hakodoshim (in particular the two inner ones). How did those remain balanced when supporting the weight of the curtain on one side?

There are two suggestions that I can make (aside from saying that it was miraculous) although neither are mentioned in the Torah.

  1. The beams were held up both on the outside and inside of the Mishkan with ropes. However, there doesn't seem to be any mention of this in the Torah.

  2. There were beams running along the top of the Mishkan from north/south. Also not mentioned in the Torah.

(There were ropes to hold up the outer wall of the courtyard of the Mishkan and I think there were ropes on the outside of the coverings of the Mishkan itself.)

Does anyone have any other solutions to this problem?

3 Answers 3


The beams were made of a type of wood, which has a specific gravity of less than 1 relative to water (therefore wood floats.) see Wikipedia Table of specific gravity in article on Relative Gravity.)

The kerashim boards had two pegs which were set into bases ("Addanim") made of one cubit deep by one cubit wide by one cubit high of solid, melted silver made from the 1000s of half shekels collected from the Jews, mentioned in next week's parsha.

These Addanim were extremely heavy. The specific gravity of silver is 10.5 (simetric.co.uk) , approximately 12+ times the SG of the wood. especially when melted together, it would be a very good stabilizing factor to enable the wood beams to stand straight.

Of course the other stabilizing factors were the various connecting rods that held beam to beam to stop them from falling in different directions.


Also there were two projections on the bottom of each board and a copper socket that held one projection of each board with the projection of the board next to it. This also helped hold them together. Also there was a pole through the center of the boards that held them together.

Mishkan Walls

The Torah tells us that they were beams made of acacia wood with protruding pieces that fit into sockets, and connected them with adjoining beams. There was a hole in the center of each beam to allow for an internal central beam that went through all the boards. The Mishkan walls were designed to be taken apart and put together quickly as the Jews traveled. It may have been the world’s first Lego! For all this to work properly, the beams had to be carefully calculated, precisely made and exactly measured so that the sockets would fit just right, and all the holes had to be in the right place for the center beam to align correctly.


The substance of matter differed in "biblical" times compared to modern. Similarly, the substance differed before the giving of Torah at sanai. Matter increases in density the more the essence is concealed. The mishkan did not need the same kind of support that a modern structure needs

  • 2
    Could people also jump higher because there was less gravity? Did the length of a lunar month change also? This doesn't seem to be the traditional Jewish position
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 1, 2016 at 21:26
  • 1
    Hi, Jonathan y, and welcome to Mi Yodeya, where none (or almost none) of us know you, so we have no reason to believe what you say. For that reason, we encourage all answers to include support (citations or arguments) for all their claims.
    – msh210
    Commented Jun 1, 2016 at 21:28

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