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Shekhinah is the English spelling of a feminine Hebrew language word that means the dwelling or settling, and is used to denote the dwelling or settling presence of God, especially in the Temple in Jerusalem.

Shekhinah is derived from the Hebrew verb 'shachan'. In Biblical Hebrew the word means literally to settle, inhabit, or dwell, and is used frequently in the Hebrew Bible: "God shall dwell [shachan] in the tents of Shem" (Genesis 9:27), "And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell [shachan] among them" (Exodus 25:8) and "And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation because the cloud abode [shachan] thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle" (Exodus 40:35).

The word "Shekhinah" also means "royal residence".

The word for Tabernacle, mishkan in Hebrew, is a derivative of the same root, 'shachan', and is also used in the sense of dwelling-place in the Bible, e.g. "According to all that I show thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle [mishkan] and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it" (Exodus 25:9).

The Greek word 'skene' – dwelling, tabernacle - is thought to be derived from 'shekhinah' and 'shachan', e.g. "Our fathers had the tabernacle [skene] of witness in the wilderness" (Acts 7:44).

Accordingly, in classic Jewish thought, the Shekhinah refers to a dwelling or settling in a special sense, a dwelling or settling of divine presence, to the effect that, while in proximity to the Shekhinah, the connection to God is more readily perceivable.