Another great Parsha! Called Terumah, it’s about creating The Mishkan, the Tabernacle, the indwelling space for the Divine Presence.
This Parsha is a radical departure from the previous sedrah which outlines in detail the social covenant within the community. This is the first time that the people are building a physical structure that serves their needs and not the needs of Pharoah. It’s an important reminder that the spiritual, social and physical realms of our lives must emanate from us, the people.
The language of the first couple of verses is so instructive.
1″The Ineffable spoke to Moses saying:
2″Speak to the children of Israel, and have them take for Me an “offering- Terumah”; from every person whose heart inspires him to generosity, you shall take My offering.”
Terumah, which literally means “that which has the ability to raise one up”, refers to the contributions that the people give to construct the Mishkan. But, most importantly, it is a contribution that must come willingly from the heart. The people, men and women, are invited to give whatever they are able. Everyone is equal, whether they give gold or wood. That everyone has equal access to the Spirit is a central teaching here.
Needless to say, we have a way to go in our own society to that end. We need to be reminded that we all walk on holy ground and that we best honor the Shechinah, divine presence, when we honor each other and when we build institutions that do the same.
On this first anniversary of social isolation may we continue to be strong and hopeful. While our relationships may be strained, we know that our community remains strong and we are here for each other. Kadimah! Reb David