Torah Weekly

For the week ending 1 February 2014 / 1 Adar I 5774

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.


A Swell Party

“Let them (the Children of Israel) take for Me a portion.” (25:1)

“What a great wedding this is! The food! The flowers! The bridesmaids’ dresses! (Was that real silk?!)”

“Ah, this is nothing. You should have come to the wedding I went to last week. This guy wanted to make some impression I’ll tell you! He rented a space shuttle and the ceremony was performed while the bride and groom were floating in space wearing spacesuits!”

“Wow! That must have been great!”

“Yeah, it was okay, but somehow there was no atmosphere...”

All the preparations for a wedding are for one purpose only — to bring simcha (happiness) to the chatan (groom) and the kallah (bride). But there are those who focus on the trappings and miss the essence, those who come only to eat and drink and ignore the essential point. Similarly, this world is no more than a wedding-hall bedecked with food and flowers and streamers and musicians. All for one purpose. To bring the chatan and kallah together. That the soul of Man be wedded to the Creator. But there are those who wander through life like guests at a wedding banquet, picking up a chicken drumstick here and an egg-roll there, and completely miss the point.

“Let them (the Children of Israel) take for Me a portion.

Let them separate themselves from what is superficial and superfluous in life and connect themselves constantly to the essence. To wed themselves constantly to the Divine Presence.

  • Source: adapted from Degel Machane Efraim

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