16/17 Feb: Shabbat Terumah comes in 5:02 pm, goes out 6:06 pm
In Terumah, G-d commands the Israelites to build a portable Mishkan, a movable sanctuary for worshipping and dialoguing with G-d. The instructions for this temporary dwelling place are some of the most descriptive and precise details found in the Torah. The detailed blueprints for this grand structure makes it clear how important a dwelling place for G-d truly is.
We, as Jews, need a place to connect with G-d. The Mishkan was a unique place of the Israelites, to serve them as they journeyed to the land of milk and honey, and to be a place for counsel and comfort during wars against foreign nations, until its permanent structure would be housed in Jerusalem.
As Ramban notes, the people need this physical representation of the brit, the covenant, so that the revelation given to Moses at Mount Sinai could continue. G-d wants the people to be in dialogue and relationship with Him — and this takes place at the Mishkan.
Written by Rabbi Paul Arberman.