T’rumah

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The Tabernacle
Built with gifts from everyone
Built by everyone

This week’s portion consists primarily of a list of the materials and details of the blueprint for building the Tabernacle. It seems tedious at times, but there is an important lesson in the opening verses.

Exodus 25:1-2,8
God spoke to Moses, saying: Tell the Israelite people to bring Me gifts; you shall accept gifts for Me from every person whose heart so moves him … And let them make Me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them.

In The Women’s Torah Commentary, Rabbi Sharon L. Sobel writes:

“[I]t is not the physical space itself that causes God’s presence to come into our midst, and it is not the physical space itself that is holy. Rather, it is the involvement of the community, expending its labor of God’s behalf. It is the act of the community joining together to make a sacred space. It is the rituals that take place within that space that bring God’s presence into the midst of the people. The purpose of the involvement of all the people in building the tabernacle is, as Torah commentator Pinchas Peli explains, to “convert the people from passive participants in their relationship with God, as constant recipients of God’s gift, into active partners.”

Image: Model of the tabernacle in Timna Park, Israel via Wikimedia Commons

 

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