Parashas Terumah

A Midrash on this week’s parashah, in Shemos Rabbah 33:4, teaches that in parallel with every creation that Hashem placed in heaven, He placed a corresponding creation on earth. The Midrash presents a long list of examples, including examples of components of the Mishkan – the topic of this week’s parashah – that Hashem designed in parallel with components of the celestial realm. The Maggid notes that many early commentators elaborate on how the Mishkan is a microcosm of the upper worlds. He then presents a new angle of his own on the matter, which he develops with a parable.
A certain king had a kingdom encompassing several provinces. In each province, he had a splendid palace, as befit his honor, along with a company of servants, attendants, and coachmen with their coaches. His practice, when he wanted to visit one of his provinces, was first to order that a contingent of coaches, servants, and attendants be brought from that province to his capital city, and he then had them come along with him on his journey to the province. When asked about this practice, he explained as follows: “If I would journey to another province with coaches, servants, and attendants from my capital city, then upon my arrival in the province I would be happy but those with me would be sad over being so far from home. I therefore travel with coaches, servants, and attendants from my destination, so that when we arrive we will all be happy – I will be happy over reaching my destination and those with me will be happy over returning home.”
The parallel is as follows. Hashem occasionally sends agents from heaven to carry out missions on earth. These agents, since their habitat is in heaven in Hashem’s presence, might find it against their nature to travel around in the lowly earthly realm.  Hashem therefore arranged for Himself an abode on earth – initially the Mishkan, later the Beis HaMikdash – in which He could infuse His presence. As the Torah states at the beginning of our parashah (Shemos 25:8): “And they shall make for Me a sanctuary, and I shall dwell among them.” The composition of the Mishkan/Mikdash paralleled that of the Hashem’s celestial abode; as our Sages put it, the Beis HaMikdash on earth is parallel to the Beis HaMikdash in heaven (Bamidbar Rabbah 4:13). Accordingly, when Hashem dispatches agents from heaven down to the earth, they can, so to speak, race to earth with joy, for they have a place on earth that is just like their home.
The Maggid draws support for his explanation from a homiletical reading of Tehillim 147:15. Rendered in the usual way, the verse states: “He who sends His utterance down to the earth – swiftly runs His word.” However, the word for “His utterance,” אמרתו, can be read as meaning “His royal robe,” as in Eichah Rabbah 1:1, expounding on Eichah 2:17, based on the similarity between the word אמרתו and the Aramaic word for garment, אימרא. The Maggid understands “Hashem’s royal robe” to be the Beis HaMikdash, which serves as a “case” for Hashem’s presence. The Maggid thus interprets the verse in Tehillim saying that Hashem sent “His royal robe,” meaning His abode, the Beis HaMikdash, down to the earth, and as a result, His word runs swiftly, for the Beis HaMikdash provides a link between earth and heaven, allowing Hashem’s word to run directly down from heaven to earth with nothing intervening.
David Zucker, Site Administrator

1 Comment

  1. North Jerusalem Maggid of Dubno Project » Blog Archive » Parashas Terumah:

    […] He placed a parallel creation on earth. The Midrash then goes on to list several parallels. Last year, we presented one of the Maggid’s commentaries on this Midrash. We now present another one. The above verse from Divrei HaYamim comes from David HaMelech’s […]

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