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LAP OF LUXURY: How Much Would the Jewish Mishkan of the Torah (Tabernacle) Cost Today?

The tent itself was made up of 48 gold plated beams that were connected.  20 on each side plus 8 across one wall.

The beams were 10 x 1 x 1.5 amot.  That comes to a surface area of 50 x 48 = 2,400 amot squared.

Although there are many opinions, let’s say an ammah is 18 inches.  So the perimeter of the mishkan required 43,200 square inches of gold plating.

The beams were made of gold plated wood.  With current technology gold can be hammered into extremely thin sheets called gold leaf.  The price of gold leaf depends on the thickness. An ounce of gold hammered into a sheet of 100th the thickness of aluminum oil could cover 100 square inches.

So for 43,200 square inches of gold plate we would need 432 ounces of gold.

Today gold is about $1,235 an ounce.  So the gold plating for the perimeter of the mishkan would cost $533,520.

That doesn’t seem so bad.  But that is just the gold plating.

The silver adanim were the sockets that kept the beams together.  There were 100 of them.  Each one was a solid kikar.  A kikar is 3,000 shekels.  So they needed 300,000 shekels.  They collected 1/2 shekel for the census.  There were just over 600,000 people counted, bringing in just over 300,000 shekels of silver.  Exactly enough for the adanim.  (and some left over for the curtain hooks.)

A shekel is about 1/2 and ounce.  3,000 shekel is 1,500 ounces. An ounce of silver today costs about $15.75. 300,000 shekel of silver for the adanim would cost $2,362,500.

So we are at about $3 million.  The beams were made of lumber, there were some other hooks, poles, and extensions made of precious metals, and then there’s the labor involved.

The Aron was made of gold plated wood. With dimensions of 2.5 x 1.5 x 1.5 the surface area needed comes out to 15.75 square amot, and it was plated inside and outside so double that is 31.5 square amot x 18 equals 567 square inches. Gold plating at 1 ounces per 100 square inches comes


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