Torah Weekly

For the week ending 28 February 2009 / 4 Adar I 5769

Parshat Teruma

by Rabbi Yaakov Asher Sinclair -
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G-d commands Moshe to build a Mishkan (Sanctuary) and supplies him with detailed instructions. The Children of Israel are asked to contribute precious metals and stones, fabrics, skins, oil and spices. In the Mishkan's outer courtyard are an altar for the burnt offerings and a laver for washing. The Tent of Meeting is divided by a curtain into two chambers. The outer chamber is accessible only to the kohanim, the descendants of Aharon. This contains the table of showbreads, the menorah, and the golden altar for incense. The innermost chamber, the Holy of Holies, may be entered only by the kohen gadol, and only once a year, on Yom Kippur. Here is the Ark that held the Ten Commandments inscribed on the two tablets of stone that G-d gave to the Jewish nation on Mount Sinai. All of the utensils and vessels, as well as the construction of the Mishkan, are described in great detail.


Love And Faith

“And they will make for me a Sanctuary, and I will dwell in their midst.” (25:8)

There is no such thing anymore as ‘the bastions of Orthodoxy’. Even in the most respected families there are children who are dropping out or dangling dangerously over the edge.

There are no easy answers to this problem. Maybe we should see the fact that so many of our youth choose not to be lured by that oh-so-glamorous world of illusion that surrounds us as something to give thanks for. But this is cold comfort for those who know the heartbreak of a ‘lost child’. No child is a statistic. Every person is a universe. A well-known Rosh Yeshiva had a son who couldn’t keep up with the high-pressure environment of his yeshiva, and he started to miss classes here and there. His davening became perfunctory and his kippa got smaller and smaller and inched further and further to the front of his head.

His father was worried sick that his estrangement from learning would precipitate his fall into the wrong crowd. And from there — who knows? The son sensed his father’s anxiety. He came to his father one day and said, “Daddy. Don’t worry. I’m not going to drop out because I know you love me.”

On the surface this sentence is a non-sequitur. What have religious convictions to do with love? What is the connection between being religious and having loving parents?

“And they will make for me a sanctuary, and I will dwell in their midst.”

There are no pat formula answers to the problem of noshrim — drop-outs from religious families — but this child felt that his home was a sanctuary, a sanctuary of love. A sanctuary of his parents' love for him, of his parents' love for each other, for G-d and for the Torah. Maybe that brought him to closeness to G-d that transcended his lack of success in yeshiva. Maybe that welded him with iron bands to G-d and to the Jewish People.

Let us make our homes into sanctuaries of love and acceptance, where our children feel our love of them, of our spouses, of the mitzvot and our relationship to G-d. And may this love permeate the hearts of all those troubled young lives and save them and their parents from sorrow — for in that sanctuary of love, G-d will dwell in our midst.

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