Rabbi’s Dvar Torah Parshas Terumah


Terumah 5776

“And you shall make a sanctuary for me and I will dwell among them” (Ch. 25 v.8).

We learn about the building of the Sanctuary and all of its furnishings and vessels to enable the proper service to Hashem. The building itself, constructed with interlocking parts and portable roofs (especially designed to enable quick assembly and disassembly for maximum portability during temporary encampments), had extremely exacting measurements, as did the furnishings and vessels. The precision of all the components of the Sanctuary is articulated in the Torah many times.

Heretofore, the Jewish People all the way back to the Patriarchs and Matriarchs also served and prayed to Hashem. Now, after revelation, there was to be a new order – all major services such as offerings, special prayers and communication with G-d was to be exclusively performed in the Tabernacle.

Why have such specific limits when involved in spiritual matters? Especially when relating to G-d who is omnipresent (there is no space devoid of Him), why create a boxed environment to connect with Him? It would be quite acceptable and, in fact maybe more romantic and transcendent, to serve G-d in unconventional ways, such as dancing on the beach or meditating on top of a mountain or losing one’s self in the ecstasy of a rave. When trying to merge with the Infinite Light of Hashem and divesting ourselves of physicality, would it not be more effective or appropriate to get out of the box, out of limits and boundaries?

Yet this is precisely the message of our Torah reading. G-d created the world and all of its creatures including the human, each in a particular way, with orderly structures. It is not in the negation of these boundaries that we achieve ultimate fulfillment. The way to attain completion and evolve in a maximum way is to live by discipline and order.

G-d’s 613 mitzvot all address detailed behavior with physical objects that mandate exact requirements. It is through contracting our desires, will, intellect, emotions and actions to function through the prism of G-d’s specified order that we bring the greatest benefit to ourselves and our world.

The encompassing details of our spiritual life is the necessary contraction that is followed by a greater expansion similar to breathing and giving birth. It is only through G-d contracting His infinite power and light that we and this world could be created and have individual presence and identity.

Yes, G-d is everywhere but to properly see Him everywhere you must first know Whom you are seeing and see Him where He is most revealed – in the Sanctuary – and in all Sanctuaries that truly represent the primary Sanctuary.

Have a great Shabbos and a good week.

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