• Gabbai

Teruma – A House for God, Who Resides Outside of it

The Parsha of Teruma opens with a direct appeal. The Lord instructed Moses to: “Speak to the Children of Israel and they shall take for me contributions, from each man who’s heart prompts him you shall take My contribution.” (Exodus 25:2)

The appeal was specifically for the purpose of building a house of God, a sanctuary. This sanctuary, the Tabernacle, would serve as the spiritual center of Israel for the better part of four centuries until the Temple of Solomon was built in Jerusalem. The Torah lists the various materials which were needed for the construction of the Tabernacle and its functioning, and following this list the verse states: “They shall make a Sanctuary for Me and I will dwell in their midst.” (25:8)

A classic question is raised by commentators. The language of the verse is odd. It could easily have stated that ‘they shall build a Sanctuary I will dwell in it.’ Instead the verse reads: they (the people) will make a Sanctuary for Me, and I (God) will dwell in their (the people’s) midst. The verse seems to imply that the presence of the Sanctuary will enable the dwelling of God among the people, whereas without the Sanctuary from where Divine Worship was directed, the presence of God would not be manifest among the people.

There is an interesting dispute regarding the chronology of events. While the instructions to build the Tabernacle appear in the Torah here, some commentators insist that the instructions of building of