There are four Sedra Shorts on Parshat Teruma. Scroll down for each Dvar Torah:
A Home for God
Living With God
The Ark of the Covenant
The Keruvim (Cherubs) were two images that sat on the kapporet, the cover, on the Ark of the Covenant.
The Torah tells Moshe to: "The cherubim shall have their wings spread upwards, shielding the ark cover with their wings, with their faces toward one another" (Shemot 25:20).
Essentially, the keruvim faced each other with their wings held over their heads,
Surprisingly, when Shlomo built the
"He (Shlomo) set the cherubim within the inner house; and they stretched forth the wings of the cherubim, and the wing of the one touched the wall, and the wing of the other cherub touched the other wall; and their wings in the midst of the house touched one another" (I Melachim 6:27).
Shlomo's Keruvim did not face each other – they stood side by side. One wing of each keruv touched a wall, while the second touched the wing of the other. They, therefore looked out of the Holy of Holies.
What is the significance of this difference?
I have heard in the name of Rabbi Menachem Liebtag that this difference epitomizes the difference between the Mishkan and the
It was a kind of messianic era. It was time for
Symbolic of this new stage in
A Home for God
God told Moshe to seek donations from the children of
When we examine description of the Mishkan, we are surprised that the home God demands for Himself was quite similar to a regular human home, only a little more grander.
To begin with, it was to have an Aron (cupboard), Shulchan (table), Menorah (lighting), mizbeach (furnace), and fire pans (cooking utensils). Furthermore, certain foods to be regularly brought to the Mishkan, whether, they were animal sacrifices, baked goods such as the showbread and matzot, wine and even spices.
Of course, as we are talking about God, all the furniture and fittings had to be made of the finest materials such as gold, accacia wood, linen etc. All the animals had to be perfect and unblemished and the flour had to be the finest quality available.
Moreover, all the attendents, had to wear special uniforms and had ritualised protocols as to where they could be and how to behave, just as any human king would have.
When Israel finally settles in the promised land and establishes a rich and mighty kingdom, David bemoans the fact that God's home was still portable: "'See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells within curtains" (II Shmuel 7:2) and discusses building Him a palace (aka Temple). God declines the invitation at this juncture.
What's going on here? Was God homeless that He needed somewhere to live? Is He homeless now that the
If we look closely at the original passuk we quoted, we see that is not the case.
"They shall make Me a sanctuary and I will dwell among them" (Shemot 25:8). God does not say build Me a sanctuary that I will dwell "in it", but "among them". The purpose of the Mishkan is not for God's benefit but for
It is impossible to see God for "no man can see Me and live" (ibid 33:20). Nevertheless, with relevant precautions, we can approach God.
Without the Mishkan and Bet HaMikdash, it is not God who suffers the lack of an abode, but us who suffer the absence of His presence.
With the Mishkan,
Living With God
In accepting the Torah,
With God living among us much can be achieved. As well as being victorious in battle, God promises that "there will be no bereaved or barren woman in your land; I will fill the number of your days" (ibid 23:26). With God living among us, we would feel no suffering, no lack of security and would live long and fulfilling lives.
However, with it, comes many dangers.
To begin with there are uncomfortable situations. If someone becomes impure, they must leave the city until their purity is restored. If a person sins, they can be inflicted with tsaraat and again, be forced to live outside of the camp. The slightest deviation from holiness is incompatible with God's presence.
When God first approached Moshe, "Moshe turned his face aside, for he was afraid of looking at God" (ibid 3:6), Yaakov was surprised that he had survived an encounter with a celestial being, "I saw a celestial being face to face, and my soul was saved" (Bereshit 32:30). So too were Gideon and Manoach, when they encountered an angel (See Shoftim 6:32-33 & 13:22).
Indeed, after Israel's apostasy with the Golden Calf, God said that it would be best if He did not live among the people: "I will send an angel before you, and I will drive out the Canaanites…because I will not go up in your midst since you are a stiff necked people, lest I destroy you on the way (Shemot 33:2).
God says that He does not want to depart from
The first to suffer were Nadav and Avihu, two of Aharon's sons, "fire came out and consumed them" (VaYikra 10:2). Others soon followed, the Mitonenim (Bemidbar 11:1), the 250 followers of Korach (ibid 16:35), the rebels that came in their wake (ibid 17:11) and the apostates of Baal Peor (ibid 25:9).
Incidents continued in the
Jews pray regularly for God's house to be rebuilt in
The Ark of the Covenant
"They shall make an ark of acacia wood, two and a half cubits its length, a cubit and a half its width, and a cubit and a half its height.You shall overlay it with pure gold; from inside and from outside you shall overlay it, and you shall make upon it a golden crown all around" (Shemot 25:10-11).
The Ark of the Covenant was the first item in the Mishkn that God commanded Isael to make. That is because it was the most important and holiest part of the Mishkan.
It was only piece of furniture that was in the Holy of the Holies, the Mishkan's inner sanctum, and it was the place from which: "I will arrange My meetings with you there, and I will speak with you from atop the ark" (ibid 22).
Amazingly enough, this holiest of items had on it two images, two golden cherubs "wings spread upwards, shielding the ark cover with their wings, with their faces toward one another" (ibid 20), in total violation of the Ten Commandments: "You shall not make for yourself a graven image or any likeness which is in the heavens above, which is on the earth below, or which is in the water beneath the earth. You shall neither prostrate yourself before them nor worship them" (ibid 20:4-5).
How was it possible that
Interestingly enough, the
Even when the people traveled it was never seen, because: "Aaron and his sons shall come and take down the dividing screen; with it, they shall cover the
Furthermore, while the Ark may have been used to lead in Israel in battle in Israel's infancy, it is clear from the Sefer Shmuel, when Israel decided to bring the Ark to battle, and the Philistines shouted in woe: "was nothing like this yesterday and before yesterday" (1 Shmuel 4:7) that this practice soon stopped.
Even more interesting is the fact that despite the
Therefore, it is possible to understand the