אֵלֶּה פְקוּדֵי הַמִּשְׁכָּן מִשְׁכַּן הָעֵדֻת…(שְׁמוֹת לח:כא)
These are the accounts of the mishkan, the mishkan of the testimony...
The mefarshim ask “to what is this a testimony?” and the answer that is given is that after the egel when HaKadosh Baruch Hu removed the His Presence from the Jews, Bnei Yisrael were waiting for a sign of reconciliation, and when HaKadosh Baruch Hu said that he will dwell in our midst, this reconciliation was apparent. The Taz ponders why was it necessary to have this sign? The fact that we were given the second set of tablets (luchos shnios) was a testimony of HaKadosh Baruch Hu’s appeasement.
He answers this question by explaining what the word eidus (עֵדֻת) means. When there is a court case, many times both sides “know” the truth. The purpose of the witnesses is so that others (judge and jury) should be able to also “know” the truth. If we apply this concept, we understand that the second set of tablets which were given to the Jews was enough for those involved to “know” the status. However, to the rest of the world that was looking on, there was no proof of reconciliation because the tablets were not readily available for viewing.
However, by coming to the mishkan and seeing the Divine presence, the whole world was appraised of the fact that HaKadosh Baruch Hu granted forgiveness to the Jews because His presence was felt there.
I would like to add on another dimension of a need for testimony. Many times someone may wrong his friend, and ask for forgiveness, and the forgiveness is readily granted. However, some kind of a distance may still linger between them.
In my work with families and in-laws, many times “forgiven” incidents from decades ago resurface. The people claim “we totally forgave the other side.”, but they carry the incident with them. Many times this is not due to a lack of forgiveness, rather the relationship lost its intensity. However, sometimes the forgiveness can be to the point that we are as close as we were, though the dynamics may have changed slightly. This is the eidus to which the mishkan testifies.
As Purim approaches and we reaffirm the naaseh v’nishma, we can even—through our love of HaKadosh Baruch Hu—bring it to a higher level of v’shachanti b’sochan—of Hashem dwelling in our midst, intensifying our relationship and IY”H bringing it to a new level.