Parashas and Haftaras Terumah

This week’s parashah deals with the building of the Mishkan (Tabernacle). Correspondingly, the haftarah deals with the building of the Beis HaMikdash (Holy Temple). After the Beis HaMikdash was completed, Hashem told Shlomo (Melachim Alef 6:11-13):
This house that you are building – if you follow My decrees, carry out My laws, and observe all My commandments, to follow them, I shall uphold My word with you, that I spoke to your father David. I shall dwell amidst the Children of Yisrael, and I shall not abandon My people Yisrael.
In his commentary on the haftarah, the Maggid points out that while Hashem refers to the Mikdash at the beginning of His statement (“this house”), in the rest of His statement He does not mention it. Hashem promises that He will dwell amidst us, but He does not say that He will emplace His Presence specifically in the house that Shlomo built. The Maggid notes further that, in truth, the very concept of a “House of God” is an enigma: It is a fundamental tenet of our faith that Hashem’s Presence extends throughout the entire universe without bound, so how can we possibly build a house for it?
The Maggid explains the matter as follows. At the beginning of the parashah, Hashem tells Moshe (Shemos 25:2): “Speak to the Children of Yisrael and let them take for Me a portion; from every man whose heart motivates him you shall take My portion.” What did Hashem mean by this? Surely He had no need for the gold and silver and other materials He listed. Indeed, just before listing the materials, Hashem says (ibid. 25:3), “This is the portion which you shall take from them” – here, He does not say “My portion,” but rather “the portion.” Hashem did not regard the materials as “My portion.” Rather, what Hashem regarded as “My portion” was the people’s motivation of heart – the wholeheartedness and purity of thought with which with the people donated the materials. Afterward, Hashem says (ibid 25:8): “Let them make Me a sanctuary, and I will dwell in their midst.” He does not say, “let them build Me a sanctuary, and I will dwell within it (בתוכו),” but instead He says “I will dwell in their midst (בתוכם).” The Mishkan was not His dwelling place; rather, His dwelling place was within the hearts of the Jewish People.
In this vein, David tells Shlomo (Divrei HaYamim Alef 28:9-10): “And you, my son Shlomo, know the God of your father and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing soul, for Hashem seeks all hearts, and discerns all that thought produces …. See now that Hashem has chosen you to build a house as a sanctuary – be strong and do it.” David tells Shlomo that the main component of service to Hashem is wholeheartedness and willingness of soul – that Hashem seeks only a person’s heart and his thoughts. And David urges Shlomo to take note and register this principle, and recognize that when Hashem chose him to build a sanctuary, what He wanted was not a splendid physical structure, but rather a construction effort carried out with devotion and pure intent.
In Divrei HaYamim Alef 29:9-10 it is recounted further:
And the people rejoiced over their donations, for they donated to Hashem with a whole heart. And David HaMelech also rejoiced with great gladness. And David blessed Hashem in the presence of the entire congregation. And David said: “Blessed are You, Hashem, God of Yisrael our forefather, forever and ever. … And I know, my God, that You examine the heart and desire uprightness. I have donated all these things in the uprightness of my heart, and now I see Your people who are present here to offer You donations with joy. Hashem, God of Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yisrael, our forefathers, preserve this forever to be the product of the thoughts of Your people, and direct their hearts toward You. And grant a perfect heart to Shlomo my son, to observe Your commandments, Your testimonies, and Your decrees, to carry out everything and to build the palace for which I have prepared.”
David is declaring before Hashem that he knows that the main thing He seeks in a donation is pure intent of heart and uprightness, and not the donated item itself. And he tells Hashem that he strove to see to it that the donors would donate with joy, and that the people’s joy in giving testifies that their thoughts are fitting and their hearts devoted to Him. And David prays that the people should always maintain this devotion, and that his son Shlomo should act with the same wholeheartedness.
Similarly, in the passage from the haftarah that we quoted at the outset, Hashem is telling Shlomo that the main dwelling place He wishes him to build for Him is not the physical Beis HaMikdash, but rather it is his own heart – through dedicating himself to fulfilling His word. If he will guide the Jewish People in making a sanctuary for Him in their hearts, He will then dwell there. And Hashem concludes by saying that – even if the physical Beis HaMikdash is destroyed – so long as the people maintain some place for Him in their hearts, He will never abandon them.
David Zucker, Site Administrator

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.