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12/13 February: Parshat Terumah

Shabbat comes in 4.55pm; goes out 6.00pm

Parshat Terumah talks about the building plans for the Mishkan or tabernacle.   This Mishkan was actually revolutionary for a number of reasons.   1] The fact that it was a travelling temple, in which G-d could be worshipped in any encampment the Israelites might set up, was a new concept in the ancient world. It is essentially a “flat-pack” structure, made to be assembled and disassembled quickly by its Levite attendants. 


2] Its materials come from the people as a whole — from their “terumot” or donations.  3] While a dedicated priesthood will serve in it, anyone can bring the offerings that will be designated later in the Torah, and it will stand in the middle of the encampment for all to see.  4] Except for its innermost area, it will not be an exclusive or secret place. 5] It will not be built with forced offerings or forced labor; it will be a product of the people’s free will.  It indicates that healthy spirituality flourishes best in situations where everyone is free, not coerced, to choose to worship G-d.


Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Paul Arberman



February 10, 2016