Tag Archives: teruma

The Sanctuary, God and us

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When Moses tells the people of Israel the commandments of God regarding the building of the Tabernacle, what to do and how to do it, the Torah repeats the same data already detailed ten chapters earlier. The parasha Vayaqhel seems to copy in a kind of routine the contents of the parasha Terumah.

There is a little omission, though; there is a short sentence that Moses did not tell:

V’asu li mikdash v’shakhanti b’tokham”, “They will build Me a sanctuary and I will dwell among them” (Exo. 25:8).

How is it possible that Moses failed to remember such an important thing, the reason and the goal of the whole act of building?

Maybe he did not forget.

Maybe Moses gave us the interpretation of what this building had to be.

Let’s see – God said to Moses, even before telling him the list of tasks for the construction, “they will build Me a sanctuary and I will dwell among them”. Moses told the people, even before transmitting God’s orders regarding this building, “work shall be done for six days, but on the seventh day there shall be something sacred for you [yihyie lakhem kodesh]” (Exo. 35:2)

Moses did not say that the seventh day shall be holy, but rather that ON the seventh day (“UVAyom hash’vyi’yi”) there shall be something holy, something sacred for you (“yihyie lakhem kodesh”)

This is the sanctuary, the Mikdash (Kodesh and Mikdash come from the very same Hebrew root) that is to be built, for God to dwell among us. This is the true mobile Temple, the true holy place. It is not a physical place, but a kind of island into the time: it is the Shabbat. It is an island into the time that we have to build with our soul, putting the week between brackets; this week full of rush, troubles and desires. In doing so we give birth to a new dimension that reveals its sacred nature.

Moses teaches us that God’s commandment “they will build Me a sanctuary” really means “on the seventh day there shall be something sacred for you”, something sacred that we have to create, to build, so as to let God dwell among us: “and I will dwell among them”.

Let’s be good builders of the sacred.