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Parshat Terumah

February 28, 2020

This week’s Parsha, Parshat Terumah, begins with G-d ordering Moses to build an extravagant sanctuary in the desert. This sanctuary is known as the Mishkan. 

The Mishkan offered the Jewish people an opportunity to repent after the sin of the golden calf. They now displayed a willingness to listen and follow the instructions of G-d and a place to bring sacrifices and become closer to G-d. 

To build this Mishkan, they had to follow every step and every wish of G-d. Every measurement, material, and procedure was completely dictated by G-d. The Jewish people did exactly as they were told. First, they constructed the Aron HaKodesh (the holy shrine), out of cedar wood coated it with gold. On the lid of the ark, they fashioned two Cherubim (baby angel faced creatures), made out of the purest of gold. Inside this chest was the Luchot HaBrit (the boards with the Ten Commandments).

Additionally, the Mishkan also housed a Shulchan, a table, also made from gold covered cedar wood.  On this table, the Lechem HaPanim (specially formed breads), were arranged. Additionally, it was not just the table that had such intricate instructions. Every single utensil used in the preparation of the bread also had specific details, crafted down to the exact letter.

In the Mishkan, one would also find the Menorah, or the candelabra. This beautiful vessel was also made of pure gold and constructed with six arms and one middle spine. This Menorah has become the symbol of the state of Israel and also our symbol of ZWST.

Nowadays, we don’t have a Mishkan nor a temple. There’s also no altar we use like at that time with the offering. The Pirkei Avot (ethics of our fathers) says that instead of bringing sacrifices or daily service in the Temple, we must share words of Torah with each other. We must simply keep the Jewish religion alive. 

We hope that you can use these words on Shabbat to welcome G-d’s presence in your home. 

ZWST- Germany 

Paraschat Terumah 2020/5780

Read commentary on this week's Parsha from BBYO teens around the world.

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