Thursday, February 10, 2005

posts thus far for parshat Teruma

Year 0:
Year 1:
Year 2

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"They shall make Me a sanctuary so that I may dwell in their midst.." (Exodus 25:8) are the awesome words in this parsha.

Our sages ask, "Is it possible for man to build a home for G-d? Isn`t it true that even the heavens cannot contain His holy presence?". How then can we mere mortals build for Him a sanctuary?

The response to this challenge speaks personally to each and every one of us. G-d, in His infinite mercy does not expect us to achieve the impossible - we need only develop ourselves to our fullest potential and dedicate ourselves to Him with love and devotion, and if we do so, G-d promises to enter our hearts, our sanctuaries and even our homes. Our homes can become replicas of the Tabernacle - Our tables can become altars at which guests are welcome and the word of G-d is heard, where blessings and grace over meals are pronounced and the laws of kashruth are complied with. Our sacred books - the Chumash, the Mishna, the Talmud, the Prophets, the Psalms, the Prayer book can remind us of the Holy Ark, and these books should not be mere ornaments. Rather, they should be our closest friends and be integrated into our lives. Our Shabbos candles, our menorahs, serve to remind us of G-d`s eternal light. Thus, while the Tabernacle and the Holy Temple no longer stand, we transform our homes into sanctuaries in miniature until such time as G-d rebuilds our Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

The method of construction of the Tabernacle is also instructive. The measurements of its vessels and furnishings and how they should be fashioned are all laden with hidden meaning. In contrast to other items, the Holy Ark had to be built by the people - "V`osu" - "And they shall make..." - rather than the singular, "V`osisa..." - "and you shall make..." which pertains to the role of the Kohanim, the Priestly family. This teaches us that the Torah is the heritage of every Jew -- we all have a share in it. We can all plumb its depths and be elevated by it. There are three crowns - the Crown of Priesthood, the Crown of Kingdom, and the Crown of Torah. It is this Crown of Torah and the Crown of a Good Name that we must all strive to acquire for ourselves.

The measurements of the Ark were given in fractions to also teach us that as much as we may strive to understand the Torah, its true intent is beyond our human comprehension. We can only understand a fraction of it. This awareness is very humbling, and yet fortifying, for it reminds us never to be discouraged but to continue to study even if the true essence of the Torah eludes us, for as finite beings, we cannot possibly understand the infinite. The half-measurements have yet another message - if we are to succeed in our Torah study we must interact with a Torah teacher. The interdependence of student and teacher is the path to the acquisition of Torah wisdom. There are added lessons to be gleaned from the positioning of the Ark. Even when it rested, the poles that lifted it were not permitted to be removed, impressing upon us that those who support Torah study have an equal share in G-d`s glorious gift.

Finally, the Torah is the very essence of our lives. It is that which renders us Jews. It is that which enables us to survive. Wherever destiny takes us, the Torah must journey with us. This is yet another reason why the poles that carried the Ark were not permitted to be removed. May the Torah accompany us on all the journeys of our lives.


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