Table Talk: Terumah
Making A Place For God “They shall make a Sanctuary for Me – so that I may dwell in them.” (Exodus 25:8) The verse does not say that God will dwell in “it” – the Sanctuary – but “in them”, in the heart of each and every person who makes room
for God. (Alshich HaKodesh) The Zohar teaches that this refers to the Divine Soul that resides inside our body. (Quoted by the Pardes Yosef) This resonates with another Midrash (Torah Sheleimah #76) that describes the Ministering Angels challenging God: “Why do You desire to dwell in the Lower worlds when You fill the Upper worlds?” God responded by referring to Aharon HaKohen, who is described as, “He will see you (Moshe) and will rejoice in his heart.” (Exodus 4:14) Rashi explains that contrary to your assumption that Aaron will be wounded at your appointment to greatness, he will sincerely rejoice for you.” What was it about Aaron’s response that convinced God to dwell in the Lower Worlds? How can we emulate Aaron so that we too can stir God, so to speak, to dwell among us?
The Mishkan and Gan Eden
The Midrash Tanchuma (Bechukotai #5) teaches that, “God desired to dwell among the Lower Worlds as He does in the Upper Worlds. God asked Adam to tend to the Garden in Eden so that God could have a place on this world as He does in the heavens above. Adam failed and God still desired to dwell amongst us. The Mishkan is the recreation of the Garden as God’s dwelling place.” There are many opinions as to when God gave the Mitzvah to construct the Mishkan. The Da’at Zekainim MiBa’alei Tosafot (Exodus 25) taught that the Mitzvah was given during the forty days immediately following the Revelation at Sinai. The Seder Eliyahu Rabba (Chapter 17) teaches that the Mitzvah was given as a response to “We will do and we will hear.” Nachmanides (Vayakhel) teaches that Moses taught the laws of the Mishkan the day after Yom Kippur, the day on which he descended from Sinai from the third set of forty days. The Mishkan was given together with the Second Tablets. Rashi (33:11) teaches that Moshe was not given the commandment until after Yom Kippur. The Midrash Tanchuma (Terumah #8) teaches that the Mitzvah was given on Yom Kippur itself. The Rabbeinu Obadiah Seforno (Exodus 24:18) teaches that the Mitzvah was only given to Israel after they had been forgiven for the sin of the Golden Calf. How will the different opinions explain the comparison between the Mishkan and the Garden in Eden?
Smells So Good
In Chronicles 2 (2:3-5) King Solomon describes the Temple he is building to Hiram the king of Tzur as the place to offer the Incense. Why is the incense offering considered the most important of the services in the Mishkan, especially in light of the comparison between the Mishkan and the Garden in Eden? Hint: Which one of the five senses was not used in the sin of eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil?