Parashas Terumah

This week’s parashah deals with the design of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) and its vessels. The parashah begins with Hashem’s directive to Moshe about the collection of materials:
Speak to the Children of Israel, that they should take for Me a contribution; from every man whose heart stirs him to give, you shall take My portion. And this is the contribution that you shall take from them: gold, silver, and copper. …”
The Maggid asks why it was necessary to make the Jewish People go through the trouble of collecting these materials and building the Mishkan. Hashem could have made Himself a Sanctuary without the Jewish People’s help.
The Maggid answers that Hashem’s purpose was to give the Jewish People an opportunity to express their love for Him and gain the merit of having Him “dwell” among them. The reason Hashem chose gold, silver, copper, and so on as materials for the Mishkan was not because He cherishes these materials. Rather, it was because these are materials that man cherishes. When the Jewish People willingly contributed the treasures they loved, they showed that they loved Hashem more. In this way, the people were, in effect, contributing their love of Hashem toward the building of the Mishkan. This is what Shlomo HaMelech meant when he said that the Mishkan was “decked with love” (Shir HaShirim 3:10). The Mishkan was built out of the Jewish People’s love for Hashem.
We can see that there was a essential difference between the collection for the Mishkan and the collection for the palace of an earthly king. In the case of an earthly king’s palace, a person’s contribution achieves its primary goal only when it reaches the royal treasury and is actually used in the building of the palace. But in the case of the Mishkan, the act of contribution in and of itself achieved the primary goal – namely to express love of Hashem.
The Mishkan was divided into two sections: the Holy and the Holy of Holies. Why? The Maggid explains that Hashem designed the Mishkan this way because He knew, with His ability to see into the hearts of men, that the Jews varied in their nobility of intent. The contributions given with great nobility intent went toward the Holy of Holies section, while the contributions given with less noble intent went toward the Holy section.
[I add here a thought of my own: Perhaps one of the reasons why the Torah describes the Mishkan’s design in such elaborate detail is that each component of the Mishkan came from a different Jew. Hashem composed the account of the Mishkan in such a way that every Jew would be represented.]
In addition, the process of building the Mishkan purified the Jewish People. In this way, they became worthy of having the Divine Presence in their midst.
David Zucker, Site Administrator

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