Rabbi Israel Becker
Our Rabbis teach that the construction of the Mishkan, the sanctuary in the desert mirrors the human being. In addition to the commandment to produce a magnificent multi colored interwoven tapestry to cover the Mishkan, we were further commanded to create another more simplistic covering to place on top of the existing first one. The second covering was to be somewhat larger than the first to completely cover it. The great Torah commentator, Rashi explains the purpose of the second covering.
Rashi expounds that the purpose of the outer covering was to not only to preserve the inner covering but also to teach us that whenever we are blessed with something truly beautiful every measure must be taken to preserve it and protect it from damage.
Rabbi Avraham Pam takes the message of preserving that which is beautiful one step further and applies it to our own singularity as individuals. No two people are alike; and no one in the world can replace another. Inside each human being lies a magnificent treasure trove of greatness and each can make his/her own unique imprint on the world.
Someone can have the greatest mind and the most sincere heart, but if he is lazy, his internal treasure will go to waste. The same is true for a person who misuses energy on jealousy and anger; or for unhappy individuals whose potential productivity is blocked when their minds and hearts are stilled by sadness.
The second covering in the temple ensures that the ornate and decorative one remains beautiful. Working on our character traits will protect our true essence and enable that which is beautiful inside us to emerge. If we allow unpolished character traits to consume us then our amazing potential will remain forever buried, even when we are alive.