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Parshat Terumah

Pop Quiz: Which animal, whose hide was used for the Mishkan, only existed at that time?

by Rabbi Reuven Semah

"And you shall make the cherubim of gold, hammered out you shall make them - and their faces toward one another." (Shemot 25:18- 20)

Our perashah tells about the building of the Mishkan, the Sanctuary in the desert. Two golden statues in the shape of angels with faces of children adorned the cover of the Ark (Aron) that contained the tablets of the Ten Commandments. The Jewish home is compared to the Mishkan, and our children are compared to the Cherubim.

Rabbi Reuven Melamed tells us that there are two important messages to be learned from the formulation of these Cherubim. First, the pasuk says they were "mikshah" which means that the cherubim were not made separately and then later attached to the cover of the Aron. Instead, the entire cover, including the cherubim, were hammered out of one large ingot of gold. The message is that little children must be attached from the beginning to their parents. The Aron is the source of holiness. Parents also bring their children to holiness. The parents must not leave their children to follow their pleasures and later seek to attach the children to them; it will be too late.

Secondly, the Torah says they face each other. People that love each other face each other. If Hashem's presence, the Shechinah, is to be found in the Mishkan, there must be love for one another. The same holds true in our homes. There must be love between parents and children. Don't let the obligation of disciplining our children make them feel that we don't love them. There is a natural bond between parent and child. However, that can be worn away by constant harsh rebuke. We must show our love at the same time that we rebuke so our children will always face us and want to remain close to us. Shabbat Shalom.


"And you shall make the boards for the Mishkan from shittim wood standing upright" (Shemot 26:15)

The Midrash questions the specific use of shittim wood for the beams of the Mishkan. Hazal respond that Hashem has chosen to teach a lesson regarding the proper derech eres one must model when building a house or when undertaking any endeavor which affects others. Hashem chose shittim wood which comes from a barren tree. Likewise, when we build, we should use wood which originates from a tree which does not produce fruit.

This Midrash is noteworthy. The Mishkan is the major source of holiness in this world. Yet, its construction may not affect any other form of "life," even inanimate life.

How much more so should we be considerate of the sensitivities of others when we embark upon a new venture. When building an edifice for Torah, whether it be a place for Torah study or prayer, we should construct it of components which do not infringe upon others. The money and materials must originate from reputable sources. One should never identify himself or his activities with financial sources of questionable repute. (Peninim on the Torah)

Answer to pop quiz: The Tahash.

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