This week’s Parashah, Parashat Terumah, shares a beautiful message about unification between Am Yisrael and Hashem. It begins with the compelling Pasuk, “V’Asu Li Mikdash VeShachanti Betocham”, “and they shall make Me a sanctuary and I will dwell in their midst” (Shemot 25:8). A deeper understanding of this Pasuk is that the only way to feel the Shechinah (presence) of Hashem in our lives is to set aside time in our daily schedule to serve Him. Essentially, the time we set aside for Him becomes His sanctuary. The more we “allow” Hashem to enter into our world by learning, appreciating, and performing His Mitzvot, the greater impact He will have on our personal and religious growth.
This positive impact also extends to our physical needs. The Torah states: “Im BeChukotai Teileichu V’Et Mitzvotai Tishmiru VaAsitem Otam, VeNatati Gishmeichem Be’Itam, VeNatnah HaAretz Yevulah VeEitz HaSadeh Yiten Piryo”, “If you follow My laws and faithfully observe My commandments, I will grant your rains in their season, so that the earth shall yield its produce and the trees of the field their fruit” (VaYikra 26:3-4). This Pasuk is one of the many examples of the positive outcomes of having a close relationship with HaKadosh Baruch Hu. It teaches us that keeping Hashem’s Mitzvot will not only grant us a closer connection with Him, but also ensure us economic success. Thus, the Pesukim found in Parashiyot Terumah and BeChukotai relate the great spiritual and physical results of forming a close bond with Hashem.
Following the command to build Hashem a sanctuary, the Torah describes all of the Mikdash’s components, including the Keruvim (cherubs) and the Menorah. The Keruvim, mentioned in Shemot 25:18, were placed atop the Aron, and were hammered from a single piece of gold. The Keruvim were two statuettes, with faces of birds and faces of children (see Rashi, s.v. Keruvim, and Chizkuni, s.v. Shenayim Keruvim). The Gemara (Masechet Yoma 54a) relates that the Keruvim would turn their backs to each other in times of rebellion and sorrow, but the two Keruvim would face each other as a symbol of love and peace when there was unity and compassion for one another among Am Yisrael,. The Menorah (ibid. 31) , like the Keruvim, was hammered from a single block of gold, and it was decorated with knobs, flowers, and cups. The Ramban (BeMidbar 8:4 s.v. VeZeh Ma’aseh HaMenorah) states that just like the Menorah was made with a single block of gold connecting the base to all of the branches, so too in Judaism there are various types of branches and practitioners, but we are all connected by the words of the Torah. The Ramban continues to write that even though Aharon was not obligated to light the Menorah every day, he did so to exemplify that the Menorah represented the eternal light of the Torah and the everlasting connection between Hashem and Klal Yisrael, which could not be hindered for a moment.
Following Yetziat Mitzraim, the Torah shares the amount of Hakarat Hatov Bnei Yisrael had for Hashem. When Moshe asked Bnei Yisrael to donate for the building of the Mishkan, he did not place a tax on Bnei Yisrael or demand money; rather, he asked Bnei Yisrael to give from their heart. Indeed, as shown in Parashat VaYakheil, Moshe actually had to tell the people to stop donating towards the Mishkan, due to an over-abundance of contributions. These actions show the love and desire Bnei Yisrael had in their service to Hashem. The very fact that Bnei Yisrael came together as a single nation -- as if from a single block of gold -- to donate voluntarily and beyond what was necessary, should inspire us all.