Monday, February 15, 2010

Parshah Terumah (Exodus 25:1-27:19)

Personal Sanctuary
Rabbi Ya’acov Yosef from Polnoye answers that since every person is a small world, each of us can build a sanctuary within our heart for the Divine Presence to dwell. In this way the continuation of the verse can be fulfilled, “that I may dwell within them.” If our heart can become the dwelling place for the Divine Presence, certainly the Jewish home can be compared to the Temple, as it is known that a Jewish home is called a mikdash me’at (a miniature sanctuary).
The Jewish Home – A Miniature Sanctuary
Being the chief of her home, the woman is compared to the Kohen Gadol (High Priest) and her housework to his Divine service. Just as the Kohen Gadol kindles the menorah (candelabra) in Beit HaMikdash (the Temple), the woman lights the Shabbat candles in her home. The bread she bakes is like the showbread in the Temple. The food she cooks is like a korban (sacrifice), and the table she sets is a mizbeach (altar). Her goal is to imbue her home with spirituality and fear of G-d. In the same manner that the Kohen Gadol causes the Shechinah to dwell in the world, the woman invites the Shechinah to enter her home. Just like the Kohen Gadol is not inferior to the king, so is the wife not inferior to her husband. They complete one another, each performing their vital function.
Let them make me a sanctuary that I may dwell within them”
(Shemot 25:8). Since the six hundred and thirteen mitzvot are eternal, there has to be a way to keep them at any given time. How is it then possible to fulfill the mitzvah of building the Temple in our time?


  1. Normally, we use the best oil for baking and cheaper oil for burning or lighting. Why in the Tabernacle was it the reverse?

  2. The menorah is the prototype of spirituality. It represents Torah and mitzvot, as King Shlomo states,1 A candle is a mitzvah and Torah is light. A meal offerings is eaten and represents the material and physical needs of a person. Unfortunately, there are people who plead poverty when they have to spend money for Torah and good deeds, but have plenty of money when it comes to personal matters. From the way things were done in the Tabernacle, we can learn true priorities. For Torah and good deeds one should spend money and use the best and purest. For personal pleasure, a Jew should practice restraint and learn to suffice with less.