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Perashat Terumah 5778

Home > Rabbi's Weekly Message > Perashat Terumah 5778

Perashat Terumah 5778

Friday, February 16, 2018 Author: Rabbi Mimoun Miller

Over the course of 400 pesukim, beginning in this week's perasha through the end of Shemot, the Torah describes in great detail the building of theMishkan, Tabernacle, and its utensils. We believe that the Torah is eternal, and each missva is relevant for every generation and for every Jew. If so, what can we learn from our perasha that would apply to our daily lives?

Let's look at some of the details of the vessels in the Mishkan that are listed in this week's perasha. There were three main vessels in the Mishkan which were adorned with a golden crown: the Aron, the Holy Ark, the Shulhan Lehem Hapanim, the Table of Showbread, and the Mizbe'ah, the Altar. 

According to the Gemara, the Aron, which carried the tablets of the Law, represented the Crown of the Torah. The Shulhan Lehem Hapanim, which alluded to wealth and material abundance, represented the Crown ofMalkhut, royalty. The Mizbe'ah, used for sacrificial offerings, represented the Crown of Kehuna, priesthood. [Yoma 72B]
The 16th century commentator Keli Yakar points out an inconsistency in the units of measurement for these vessels. All the measurements of the Aronincluded half units, two and a half by one and a half by one and a halfamot, cubits. The Shulhan's length and width were described in complete units, but its height contained a half unit, two by one by one and a half amot. The Mizbe'ah's measurements were all complete units, five by five by threeamot.

While it may seem trivial, there is great significance in these differences. The Aron, which represented the wisdom of the Torah, was delineated by the half, or incomplete, measurements. It is explained that with wisdom we recognize that we are incomplete and must always strive to improve ourselves.

The Shulhan had both types of measurements. The complete units in the length and width of the Shulhan teach us that no matter our station in life, we must appreciate all that we have and consider ourselves complete. While the half, or broken, unit in the height of the Shulhan teaches us that even if one merits wealth, he should not stand tall and be haughty. Rather, one should take from his own wealth, literally break from it, and give to others less fortunate. Thus, we learn that we are not complete unless we care for those in need.

Finally, the measurements of the Mizbe'ah are all whole units. The task of theKohanim, priests, and the Altar was to elevate a person spiritually and to bring his/her soul to a state of perfection through atonement. And so we learn that in matters of spirituality and character development, we must aspire to complete perfection.

If we successfully internalize these messages, and the many more lessons hidden throughout the perashot, we will surely merit to see the fulfillment of the blessings of the pasuk, "And they shall make for me a mikdash and I will dwell amongst them".

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