• 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, 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.

  • 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.

  • Daily Aliya for Teruma, Sheni (2nd Aliya)

    Aliya Summary: A thick, solid gold lid is to be made for the Aron. From the lid are to be formed two Cherubs facing each other with their wings spread out above the lid. Communication from G-d will be from “between the two K’ruvim”. A special table of gold-plated wood shall be made; a frame and decorative border to the frame are to be made of gold. Four gold rings are to be attached to the legs of the table as receptacles for the carrying rods. Shelves and supports for the shelves complete the Shulchan. The Lechem Panim (Showbread) are to be placed on the Shulchan at all times.

    This is not considered just a detail of the making of the Shulchan, but as its own mitzvah. The mitzvah involved baking 12 special loaves (they were halachically matza) on Friday to replace the previous week’s loaves on Shabbat. Tradition records a weekly miracle that the one week old bread was found to be fresh by the kohanim on duty who shared in the Lechem HaPanim. This mitzvah makes a statement: We should not view food as just the physical necessity, but rather we are challenged to add a spiritual dimension to even the most mundane of our human activities (i.e. to always keep it fresh). The Lechem HaPanim are the model; our laws of kashrut, brachot, and more help us achieve the spiritual levels of this concept.

  • Daily Aliya for Teruma, Rishon (1st Aliya)

    G-d tells Moshe to tell the People to donate materials in amounts that “each person sees fit”. The donations were to be of gold, silver, copper; dyed wools (blue, purple, red), fine linen; goats-hair fabric, red-dyed sheepskin, Tachash skins; acacia wood; oil for light, spices for the anointing oil and the incense offerings; gemstones for the Eiphod and the Choshen.

    “And they shall make for Me a Sanctuary, and I will dwell in their midst”. This well-known passuk constitutes the mitzvah to build the Mishkan in that generation, and the Temple in later times. Each time the Mishkan was taken apart, transported, and reassembled, the mitzva was fulfilled. It was fulfilled by King Solomon and his generation, by Ezra and his generation, and it will be fulfilled when the third Beit HaMikdash will be built. Some commentaries interpret the word b’tocham as within Jew, not just in the midst of the People.

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