Torah Weekly - Parshat Terumah

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Parshat Terumah

For the week ending 6 Adar I 5760 / 11 & 12 February 2000

  • Summary
  • Insights:
  • A Gilty Lily?
  • Love And Faith
  • Haftorah
  • Not Just the Elite
  • Love of the Land
  • Telz Stone - Kiryat Yearim
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  • Overview


    Hashem commands Moshe to build a Mishkan (Sanctuary) and supplies him with detailed instructions. Bnei Yisrael are asked to contribute precious metals and stones, fabrics, skins, oil and spices. In the Mishkan's outer courtyard is 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 which Hashem 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.




    "Its knobs and its blossoms will be (hammered) from it... " (25:31)

    In English, we speak of "gilding the lily," of applying unnecessary adornment. How can the lily be made more beautiful? If you paint it gold, will it be more radiant? When you paint a lily it detracts from its true beauty. It's ungepatchket - overdone.

    There's a common misconception that the Torah is like a lily, and the Rabbis were lily painters.

    There is not a single Rabbinic dictum or law, not an extrapolation nor an embellishment that is not hinted to in the Torah itself. Everything stems ultimately from the Torah.

    We can see this idea in this week's Parsha: "You shall make a menorah of pure gold, hammered out shall the menorah be made, its base, its shaft, its cups, its knobs and its blossoms will be [hammered] from it."

    The menorah was fashioned from one solid block of gold. Nothing was grafted on to it. Just as its base, its shaft and its cups were integral, drawn from the same block of gold, so too were its knobs and its blossoms integral and drawn from the same block of gold.

    The same is true with every law that the Rabbis promulgated. Nothing is grafted on. Nothing is unrelated embellishment. Just as the Torah laws - the "shaft" and the "cups" of the Torah - stem from an indivisible unity, so does every last Rabbinic dictum and decree - its "knobs" and its "blossoms" - derive from the that same "block of gold."

    The lily is ungilded.


    "And they will make for me a sanctuary, and I will dwell in their midst" (25:8)

    The son of a well-known Rosh Yeshiva (Dean of Rabbinic Seminary) in Israel was finding his yeshiva studies too difficult. He just didn't fit. His father was worried sick that his estrangement from Torah study would precipitate his fall into the wrong crowd. And from there - who knows? His son sensed his father's anxiety. He came to his father one day and said "Daddy. Don't worry. I'm not going to become non-religious - because I know you love me."

    On the surface, this is a non-sequitur. What have religious beliefs to do with love? What is the connection between being an observant Jew and having loving parents?

    "And they will make for Me a sanctuary, and I will dwell in their midst."

    There are no easy answers. Maybe this child felt his home was a sanctuary of love - of his parents' love for him, of his parents' love for each other, for G-d and for Torah. Maybe that brought him to a closeness to G-d that transcended his lack of success in his yeshiva, welding him with iron bands to G-d and to the Jewish People.

    Let us make our homes sanctuaries of love, of acceptance, where our children sense our love of our spouses, our love of them, and our love of the mitzvot and service of G-d. May this love permeate the hearts of all those troubled young lives who have fallen by the wayside, may it remove them and their parents from all sorrow, and may G-d dwell in our midst.

    • A Gilty Lily - Chafetz Chaim


    Melachim I 5:26 - 6:13


    When King Solomon built the Temple, he based his plans on the principles used in the construction of the Tabernacle, but he went further. The Tabernacle's altar was built without use of iron tools, as iron symbolizes destruction. Solomon went further: In order not to bring iron tools onto the Temple Mount, he had all the stones hewn and shaped before they were brought to the site of the Temple.

    Furthermore, the Temple was exactly twice the length and breadth of the Tabernacle. Solomon also built the Temple with windows which were narrow on the inside and wider on the outside so the "light" of the Sanctuary could spread out to all the world.

    It is beyond our ability to imagine what life was like when the Temple stood; to think what it must have been like in the days when one could almost see the Divine Presence.


    The Temple was not there just for a select few. Everyone was commanded to come to Jerusalem and ascend the Temple Mount three times a year. The Temple was the point from which the light of the Torah flooded out to all of the nation of Israel.

    At the construction of the Tabernacle G-d tells Moshe that He will dwell, not "in it," but "among them," among the whole nation of Israel, from the leaders and the priests to the simple unlettered Jew. Thus, all of Israel came forth with their silver and gold and precious gems to donate to its construction.

    This is reiterated when Solomon organized the construction of the Temple, as he took workers from all of Israel. Everyone is to be involved, not just a select few. Everyone must endeavor to bring G-d's Presence into the world. Only then can G-d's presence dwell in the heart and mind of every Jew.

    Love of the Land
    Selections from classical Torah sources
    which express the special relationship between
    the People of Israel and Eretz Yisrael


    Three names and eras are combined in the name of this town on the outskirts of Jerusalem.

    Kiryat Yearim is where the Holy Ark was brought after its return from Philistine captivity (Shmuel I, 7:1-2) and where it remained for 20 years until it was brought to Jerusalem by King David (Divrei Hayamim I, 13:5-8).

    Near this Biblical site is the town which was established by the heads of Yeshivat Telz, which was transplanted from Lithuania to Cleveland, through the generosity of the great philanthropist Irving Stone. (Mr. Stone, the head of Cleveland-based American Greetings, passed away this month. May his memory be blessed.)

    Telz Stone is a religious community with many residents from the USA and South Africa and with a number of religious educational institutions, plus a renowned Beit Hachlama convalescent home for mothers following birth.

    Love of the Land Archives

    Written and Compiled by Rabbi Yaakov Asher Sinclair
    General Editor: Rabbi Moshe Newman
    Production Design: Eli Ballon

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