(Torah Portion Terumah) Heavenly Embassy
This week’s entire Torah portion, deals with G-d’s instructions to the Jews concerning how to construct His sanctuary on earth. It details the materials required for the vessels, edifice, coverings, and curtains, and describes their exact dimensions and functions.
Since we do not have a Temple of G-d and are not familiar with its actual construction and operation we have difficulty conceptualizing it. However, our Sages with imagery and association assist us in gaining some impression of the Temple.
Rabbi Gedalyia Schorr o.b.m. explained that the Temple can be compared to a foreign embassy in another country. For all intents and purposes the embassy grounds are considered as part of the native country. So too, G-d’s Temple, His abode on earth, was His Embassy – it functioned in a Heavenly manner within our earthly atmosphere. Therefore, there were many apparent miracles that defied the laws of nature, within the confines of the Temple.
For example, the Holy Ark of Testimony fit into an area which physical space did not allow. This was also true with the amount of people who fit into the Temple – there were more people than space available.
The outdoor large Altar on which burned a continuous fire was never extinguished by rain or other elements. When sacrificial portions were offered on the fire, the billow of smoke rose in a straight pillar to the Heavens and was never swayed by the winds. The meat of slaughtered animals never became putrid or decayed, nor was a fly ever found near the meat.
This is because the Temple followed the laws of Heaven on earth.
The construction of the Temple was miraculous as well.
G-d instructed Moshe to form the Menorah by hammering it out of a solid piece of pure gold. He was not allowed to solder any of the pieces together. This was quite complex and intricate work, because the Temple’s Menorah, which stood at least 5 feet tall, had seven branches, with ornate flowers, cups and balls in designated places.
The Medrash relates that Moshe had great difficulty comprehending the details of the Menorah. G-d showed him a vision of the Menorah, whereupon Moshe tried to form it yet was unable. G-d then instructed Moshe to place the block of gold into a fire, and miraculously, the completed Menorah emerged.
A question is raised. Since G-d knew that Moshe wouldn’t be able to form the Menorah, why didn’t He originally command Moshe to place it into the fire and let it emerge by itself?
We can learn from this, that although it was impossible for Moshe to make the Menorah, he tried and yearned to do it. G-d said, “Now that you tried with all your effort, I shall complete it for you in a miraculous way.”
We can learn a lesson from this, that although there are Mitzvos and observances that we may think are beyond us or too difficult to achieve or complete, G-d wants all of us to take the initiative and pay attention to their observance and celebration. If we do so, we are guaranteed that G-d will indeed do the unfathomable and help us succeed and achieve!
The Talmud states, “From the time that G-d’s Temple was destroyed, G-d only dwells in the area of the four cubits where His laws are studied and adhered to.”
This means that G-d’s current abode is in the four cubits that surround a person who applies his will and actions to live according to His laws. Thus, the profound protection and assistance that existed in the Temple is now provided for him!
Wishing you a restful, peaceful
and inspirational Shabbos!
Rabbi Dovid and Malki Saks