• Dvar for Terumah (Exodus 25:1-27:19)

    Parshat Terumah is the beginning of the building of the Mishkan, where G-d would dwell among the Jews as they traveled in the desert. To build the Mishkan materials had to be collected, and G-d commanded the Jews to collect several types. After listing the need for metals, wools, hairs, skins, and wood, the Torah tells us that they collected “oil for illumination” and “spices for the anointment oil and incense”. Why does the Torah suddenly need to tell us what the materials were to be used for, when it hadn’t discussed it thus far?

    One possible answer is that there are two differences between the characteristics of the other materials and those of the oil and spices. Firstly, while the other materials were important, they required little effort to produce, while the oil and spices had to be manufactured and maintained. Those people that didn’t have the precious stones to donate to the building of the Mishkan still had the opportunity to contribute with their efforts instead. Secondly, both the oil and the spices are of the most ‘giving’ materials used in the Mishkan; The oil was used to light the Menorah, which gives off light to everything around it, and the spices give off a beautiful smell to its surroundings. The message it clear…The most beautiful and giving things in life are those that require our active effort. Spices smell and oil illuminates because someone took the time and effort to make them. The same can be said today…Being a good person and a good Jew is beautiful and rewarding to ourselves and to others, but only because we take the time and effort to understand and cultivate it.

  • Dvar for Terumah (Exodus 25:1-27:19)

    The Aron (Tabernacle) contained the most precious gift the Jews got: the Tablets handed from G-d to Moshe. The receptacle had to be worthy of the insert, and therefore the Aron had to be intricately constructed with symbolism as meticulously configured as its beautiful  design. The Aron consisted of three contiguous boxes of gold, wood, and gold, each inserted into the other, and gold plated wooden staves with which to carry the Aron. The Torah goes on to state that “The staves shall remain in the ark; they shall not be removed” (Exodus 25:14). Rabbi Kamenetzky asked that if this is meant as a prohibition for anyone to remove the staves, why didn’t the Torah just command us not to remove them, instead of telling us that they won’t be removed?

    Rabbi Kamenetzky answers that perhaps the Torah is making a powerful prophecy in addition to a powerful regulation. The wooden staves represent the customs and the small nuances of the Torah (wood being the only element of the Tabernacle that was living and growing). They may not be as holy as the ark, but they will never leave its side. When the cherished handles of those staves are invoked into use, the entire Torah is raised with them. As the Torah is clearly demonstrating, the Torah is moved by the little actions that we do, the inconspicuous little  actions that impress no one, but mean the world to G-d.

  • Dvar for Terumah (Exodus 25:1-27:19)

    Parshat Terumah is the beginning of the building of the Mishkan, where G-d would dwell among the Jews as they traveled in the desert. To build the Mishkan materials had to be collected, and G-d commanded the Jews to collect several types. After listing the need for metals, wools, hairs, skins, and wood, the Torah tells us that they collected “oil for illumination” and “spices for the anointment oil and incense”. Why does the Torah suddenly need to tell us what the materials were to be used for, when it hadn’t discussed it thus far?

    One possible answer is that there are two differences between the characteristics of the other materials and those of the oil and spices. Firstly, while the other materials were important, they required no effort in producing, while the oil and spices had to be manufactured and maintained. Those people that didn’t have the precious stones to donate to the building of the Mishkan still had the opportunity to contribute with their efforts instead. Secondly, both the oil and the spices are of the most ‘giving’ materials used in the Mishkan; The oil was used to light the Menorah, which gives off light to everything around it, and the spices give off a beautiful smell to its surroundings. The message it clear…The most beautiful and giving things in life are those that require our active effort. Spices smell and oil illuminates because someone took the time and effort to make them. The same can be said today…Being a good person and a good Jew is beautiful and rewarding to ourselves and to others, but only because we take the time and effort to understand and cultivate it.

  • Dvar for Terumah (Exodus 25:1-27:19)

    Parshat Terumah is the beginning of the building of the Mishkan, where G-d would dwell among the Jews as they traveled in the desert. To build the Mishkan materials had to be collected, and G-d commanded the Jews to collect several types. After listing the need for metals, wools, hairs, skins, and wood, the Torah tells us that they collected “oil for illumination” and “spices for the anointment oil and incense”. Why does the Torah suddenly need to tell us what the materials were to be used for, when it hadn’t discussed it thus far?

    One possible answer is that there are two differences between the characteristics of the other materials and those of the oil and spices. Firstly, while the other materials were important, they required no effort in producing, while the oil and spices had to be manufactured and maintained. Those people that didn’t have the precious stones to donate to the building of the Mishkan still had the opportunity to contribute with their efforts instead. Secondly, both the oil and the spices are of the most ‘giving’ materials used in the Mishkan; The oil was used to light the Menorah, which gives off light to everything around it, and the spices give off a beautiful smell to its surroundings. The message it clear…The most beautiful and giving things in life are those that require our active effort. Spices smell and oil illuminates because someone took the time and effort to make them. The same can be said today…Being a good person and a good Jew is beautiful and rewarding to ourselves and to others, but only because we take the time and effort to understand and cultivate it.

  • Daily Aliya for Teruma, Shvii (7th Aliya)

    Aliya Summary: The Tabernacle courtyard was to be 100 cubits (approx. 150 feet) by 50 cubits, and enclosed by mesh linen curtains. The entrance to the courtyard was to be on its eastern side, and the entrance was to be covered by a curtain woven of dyed wools and linen.

    So why do we need this Mishkan to begin with, if we’ve been able to communicate and serve G-d without it, both before it existed, and in our days? The answer is that even if one has been davening by heart for a long time, and knows the prayers well, there are still many benefits to getting a beautiful Siddur to use. It gives one a focus, enhances the service of G-d, is physically attractive and spiritually inspiring.

  • Daily Aliya for Teruma, Shishi (6th Aliya)

    Aliya Summary: G‑d then gave instructions for the construction of the Outdoor Altar. This altar was to be made of copper-plated acacia wood, and it was to have four “horns,” vertical projections, protruding from its uppermost corners. The altar, too, was equipped with rings and transportation poles.

    Food for thought: The Aron, Shulchan, Menora are presented in this Parsha. Then comes the structure of the Mishkan, and then the External Altar. No mention of the Internal Altar; that doesn’t come until T’tzaveh – after the garments of the Kohanim. The Washing Basin and its Stand don’t show up until the beginning of Ki Tisa. This is an unusual separation of different holy vessels. Why?

  • Daily Aliya for Teruma, Chamishi (5th Aliya)

    Aliya Summary: The Tabernacle’s sanctuary was to consist of two sections: the innermost chamber was the Holy of Holies, wherein the Ark was to be placed; and the outer chamber was the Holy Chamber, which housed the Menorah and the Table (as well as the Golden Altar which will be described in next week’s reading). Two curtains were to be woven of dyed wools and linen. One was to be placed between the Holy of Holies and the Holy Chamber, the other covered the eastern side of the Tabernacle—its entrance.

    Rashi says that Parochet has the connotation of a partition (as opposed to a curtain covering an entrance), similar, says Rashi, to the word Pargod, something that separates a king from his subjects. Maasei Choshev, explains Rashi, is highly skilled weaving which results in different designs on each of the two sides of the fabric. Two prime examples of the detailed artistry that went into this creation.

  • Daily Aliya for Teruma, Revii (4th Aliya)

    Aliya Summary: The walls of the Tabernacle were to be upright beams made of gold-plated acacia wood. The bottom of each beam had two projections that were to be inserted into two silver sockets. The Tabernacle’s front side (to the east) was to have no wall. Its northern and southern side were to have twenty beams each. Its western wall was to have eight. Altogether the inside of the sanctuary was 30 cubits (approx. 45 feet) by 10 cubits, and 10 cubits high. The beams were held together by several crossbars.

    Rashi brings a Midrash that says that Yaakov foresaw with Divine Vision that wood would be needed by his descendants upon their departure from Egypt. He brought saplings with him to Egypt which he planted and ordered his children to take the wood with them when they left Egypt.

  • Dvar for Terumah (Exodus 25:1-27:19)

    Parshat Terumah is the beginning of the building of the Mishkan, where G-d would dwell among the Jews as they traveled in the desert. To build the Mishkan materials had to be collected, and G-d commanded the Jews to collect several types. After listing the need for metals, wools, hairs, skins, and wood, the Torah tells us that they collected “oil for illumination” and “spices for the anointment oil and incense”. Why does the Torah suddenly need to tell us what the materials were to be used for, when it hadn’t discussed it thus far?

    One possible answer is that there are two differences between the characteristics of the other materials and those of the oil and spices. Firstly, while the other materials were important, they required no effort in producing, while the oil and spices had to be manufactured and maintained. Those people that didn’t have the precious stones to donate to the building of the Mishkan still had the opportunity to contribute with their efforts instead. Secondly, both the oil and the spices are of the most ‘giving’ materials used in the Mishkan; The oil was used to light the Menorah, which gives off light to everything around it, and the spices give off a beautiful smell to its surroundings. The message it clear…The most beautiful and giving things in life are those that require our active effort (WTA Vaad Horim?). Spices smell and oil illuminates because someone took the time and effort to make them. The same can be said today…Being a good person and a good Jew is beautiful and rewarding to ourselves and to others, but only because we take the time and effort to understand and cultivate it.

  • Daily Aliya for Teruma, Shlishi (3rd Aliya)

    Aliya Summary: The seven branched Menorah (candelabra) was next on G‑d’s list. It was to be beaten out of a single block of pure gold, with decorative cups, knobs and flowers on its body. The Torah now turns its attention to the construction of the Tabernacle’s sanctuary. The covering of the Sanctuary was to consist of several layers of tapestries. The first layer was to be a woven mixture of dyed wools and linen. The second layer was to be made of goat’s hair. These two oversized coverings also covered the outsides of the Tabernacle’s walls. The very top of the Tabernacle was then to be further covered by dyed ram skins and tachash hides.

    The Mishkan, as described in the Torah, functioned for the 40 years of the Wilderness (actually 39 years), and the first 14 years in Israel (in Gilgal), the years of conquest and settlement. After that, a stone structure – with the same dimensions – was made in Shilo to replace the gold-covered wood wall sections. The three coverings were the same, as were the furnishings inside the Mishkan. The Mishkan stood in Shilo for 369 years. After Eli Hakohen died, the Mishkan was set up in Nov (13 years) and then (after Shmuel’s death) in Givon (44 years). That’s a total of 480 years, fromthe exodus until the first temple.

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