Torah Weekly

For the week ending 21 February 2015 / 2 Adar I 5775

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.


Turning Faith into Truth

“And they will make for Me a Mikdash and I will dwell among them.” (25:8)

Someone stops you on the street and says, “Do you believe in G-d?”

“Of course I do!” you say.

Probably up to that minute the last thing you were thinking about was G-d.

Maybe you were thinking about your overdraft, or what you were going to buy your wife for your twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, or what you were going to have for dinner.

Many are the thoughts that pass through our minds — and few of them are of G-d.

I'm not talking about when we're praying, although I'm not sure how many of us would score more than four out of ten when it comes to kavana (concentration) even in prayer. What I'm talking about is a feeling of holiness, of closeness to G-d.

We believe that G-d fills the entire universe, that He sustains everything every single second. But how much of our lives is filled with a palpable awareness of the Divine?

“Avodat Hashem” — Divine Service — is about turning “Faith” into “Truth”.

We can go through life with a bagful of unexamined, untested and unlived “beliefs” which never really impinge on the “truths” by which we conduct our existence.

“Make for me a Mikdash...”

The word Mikdash comes from the root kodesh, meaning “holy”. G-d tells us to connect everything we do to Him; that all our actions should be done with the awareness that we are in this world to elevate ourselves; that we are here to make ourselves a fit “dwelling” for the Divine Presence.

The more we focus on our everyday actions and think, “G-d and only G-d is giving me the power to do this action,” the more we will realize, “Therefore I must dedicate my actions to becoming someone who is kinder, more thoughtful, less selfish, less conceited, less angry, less lazy, and less indulgent — because that's what He wants me to be; because that is why he is giving me the strength to do this action.”

The more we use the minutiae of our lives to create a “Holy Space” — "Make for me a Mikdash" — the more G-d will respond by filling us with feelings of closeness to Him. “And I will dwell within them.”

  • Sources: Sfat Emet

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