February 27, 2024
Parashat Terumah includes G-D's commandment; "Make me a sanctuary that I might dwell in your midst"

When you Choose Shabbat, you choose to learn that every Shabbat is different and special. This week I learned that Parashat Terumah (תְּרוּמָה) is the 19th weekly Torah portion in the annual cycle of Torah readings.

According to Wikipedia, Terumah, aka (תְּרוּמָה) contains 4,692 Hebrew letters, 1,145 words, 96 verses and makes up 155 lines of a Torah scroll. Parashat Terumah (תְּרוּמָה)‎ includes G-D’s detailed instructions to Moses and the Israelites for construction of the Tabernacle, the Mishkan מִּשְׁכָּן‎) and the Ark of the Covenant.

Rabbi Michael D Klein of Temple Torat Emet offers his insights on this week’s Torah reading, Terumah:

The abiding commandment of this Torah portion is , “Make me a sanctuary that I might dwell in your midst.” What does this mean? We have already received the commandment concerning Shabbat. This teaches us the concept of sanctification of time. We set aside 1 day per week devoted to family and spirituality which endows it with special holiness.

Now we are commanded to not only sanctify time, but also set aside holy space where G-d will abide with us. We know that the details that follow, give us the plans for constructing the Mishkan, the Tabernacle, the Altar, the other holy articles used by the Kohanim, but most importantly the Holy of Holies where the Kohain Gadol approaches G-d’s spirit to receive judgements and atonement.

How then, since we no longer have the Beit Hamikdash, can we achieve the holiness of space that allows each of us to feel G-d’s nearness to us and all of Klal Yisroel? The answer is that we must dedicate special places in our hearts, our homes, and our communities where we come together to worship and pray. We must always carry the words of Torah in our hearts as is retold in the Shema and Veahavta. We dedicate special locations in our homes by designating areas for prayer and meditation and by placing special artworks of Jerusalem and the Torah on the eastern wall. We build and dedicate our Temple and come together every day and especially on Shabbat and Holidays to pray together and build communities of holiness that we share with others.

Thus it is, that Jews for millennia have established holy spaces that remind us of our obligations to serve G-d and feel G-d’s holy presence in our lives and in our hearts. May we always have the love and devotion to create holy spaces which remind us of our devotion to G-d and the Torah.

Questions to ponder:

  1. What is the real purpose of the Ner tamid and the Menorah?
  2. Why is so much attention given to the specific details of each article?
  3. What were the Cherubim? Why was their presence important?
  4. How do the artisans who constructed everything know the exact dimensions of each article?

Rabbi Michael D. Klein

Rabbi Michael D. Klein attended Yeshiva College of South Florida and served as Torah Reader, Hebrew teacher, Chazzan and spiritual leader of various synagogues throughout South Florida. In January 2015 he became Ritual Director, Bnai/Bnot Mitzvah instructor and 7th grade Hebrew instructor for Temple Torat Emet of Boynton Beach. In October 2019 he was accepted into an accelerated track and received his shicha from Yeshiva Adath Wolkowisk and has been the Rabbinic leadership of Temple Torat Emet since August 2020. In September of 2022 he was appointed Rabbinic and Spiritual Advisor of the Florida Region of FJMC.

Choose Shabbat; choose to celebrate, to light candles, sing songs and learn a little Torah.

This moment of Jewish Learning is brought to you by the Florida Region of the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs (FJMC). We are part of a confederation of over 200 Jewish Men’s Clubs and Brotherhoods representing over 20,000 members across the United States, Canada, Latin America, and beyond. Learn more about how your Jewish Men’s Club or Brotherhood can affiliate with the FJMC at: https://www.fjmc.org/content/affiliating-fjmc.

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