What is the significance of all the details of the measurements of the Mishkan, and other details in other subjects of the Torah?
You have to realize there are a number of cases when these measurements are of utmost importance to us even today. First of all, there is a question of corroboration. If we want to know the reliability of a document, so we try to find contradictions in the document.
Now, when somebody wants to write a false document, he puts in as few details as possible, so it should be more difficult to catch him in a self-contradiction. Cunning liars always speak as little as possible. If you have to lie on the witness stand, so try to say as little as possible; it's good advice, it may happen someday. Or if you are being cross examined, the less information you volunteer the better off you are, because when you say more things it's easier to trip you up.
L'havdil elef havdolos in the new testament, when it tells about a certain miracle, details are omitted. It's a general thing, oso ha'ish stood on a mountain and he was transfigured, and he looked like something that came from above, and the people fell down and worshiped him, and that's the whole story. But let's have some more details, after all it was such a big event the way they describe it, there must've been a lot of people of the Jews who didn't approve, what did they say?
It's a queer thing, in all these stories the only witnesses were the believers. You mean to say that the majority of the Jews in Eretz Yisroel believed that? The majority didn't believe! All of the sages disbelieved.
It's an interesting thing, in all the stories, not one sage was ever present. Why didn't they have Rabbon Gamliel present, or any of the old sages, so let them disagree... No. In all the stories, the stories are made as simple as possible, it shouldn't be complicated, there shouldn't be any questions asked.
The Torah purposely tells details upon details, and that's one of the ways of checking, by crosschecking. It's surprising how much information can be gained by checking one place with another. For instance, if you want to know how precise was the number of 600,000 Jews that left Egypt. 600,000 males, now that's a big number, and apikorsim like Ben Gurion and others deny it. But if you crosscheck you see, that the donation of a machtzis ha'shekel that they gave for the Mishkan, could only come to such big sums from 600,000 people. It's been calculated, even gentiles calculated this, and it was only possible from a huge multitude.
So when you crosscheck, you're able to verify the credibility of these reports. The measurements are not only given here, they are mentioned more than once, they are related once in the command to do it, they're related later when he relates how it was done, it was fulfilled, and again and again a number of times.
Therefore this gives us an excellent opportunity for crosschecking, and that's just one of the reasons for writing these things in the Torah. When the Torah tells us the genealogical tablets of the nations, and the Torah tells us who begot whom, and how the nations fanned out from one individual to a number of families, it gives credibility to the Torah, because you see here a logical sequence how the families spread, how all the Semitic families came from Shem, and all the Hamitic families came from Cham, and you understand the relationship between the families. Therefore it gives plausibility, because in the days of old when people were closest to the sources, it was easier for them to check on these things.
So one of the reasons is, to help verify the truthfulness of the Torah.
Good Shabbos To All
This is transcribed from questions that were posed to Harav Miller by the audience at the Thursday night lectures.
To listen to the audio of this Q & A please dial: 201-676-3210