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Due to the similarity in content of much of this Parasha with Parashat Vayakhel, the focus of the basic questions has been split between the two Parashiot. Thus Teruma looks at specific structures within the Tabernacle - the Ark, the Table, the Candelabrum, and the Outer Altar. This leaves Vayakhel for studies of the general structure of the Tabernacle, and of the surrounding courtyard.
NAME THE FEATURES IN EACH OF THE FOUR DIAGRAMS
THE HOLY ARK
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ON PARASHAT TERUMA.
THE ARON HAKODESH - (THE HOLY ARK IN THE TABERNACLE)
(a) Golden ark cover
(b) Golden rings to attach the staves to the main structure
(d) Golden crown surrounding the ark cover
(e) Staves - permanently attached to the ark
THE SHULCHAN (TABLE IN THE TABERNACLE)
(a) Mold for the show bread
(b) Shelving tubes - to bear the weight of the individual loaves of show bread
(c) Golden crown - around the border of the table
(d) Rings - to attach the staves to the main structure
(e) Staves - to carry the table
(f) Boards (vertically placed) - forming the structure for the show bread
(g) Spoon for frankincense offering
THE MENORAH (CANDELABRUM IN THE TABERNACLE)
(a) The height of the Menorah according to Rashi (25:35) is eighteen handbreadths - about 1.45 meters.
Features of the Menorah:
(b) Decorative cup
(c) Decorative knob
(d) Decorative flower
(e) Base of the Menorah
(f) Tongs - accessory to the Menorah, to prepare the wicks
(g) Firepan - accessory to the Menorah, to clean the ashes from the lamps
THE MIZBEIACH - OUTER MAIN ALTAR.
(a) Horns of the altar
(b) Staves - to carry the altar, which was hollow in structure
(c) Rings - to attach the staves to the main structure
(d) Base of the altar
(e) Copper netting - a decorative feature
(f) Border carved into the altar wall - a decorative feature
QUESTIONS ON PARASHAT TERUMA BASED ON THE COMMENTARIES.
1. What was the central function of the Mishkan according to (a) the Ramban (b) the S'forno (c) the Rambam?
2. What are the meaning of the following, according to Hirsch?
(a) The word 'teruma'. (25:2)
(b) 'They shall make a sanctuary for Me, so that I may dwell among them'. (25:8)
3. How may G-d's command to make the Cherubim (25:18) be reconciled with His prohibition against making graven images, according to Abarbanel?
4. What is the significance of the golden crown around the Table (25:24), according to the Ramban?
5. The lights of the Menorah were to face its central stem (25:37). What may be learnt from this rule, according to the S'forno?
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ON PARASHAT TERUMA BASED ON THE COMMENTARIES.
1. The Ramban relates to the Mishkan as being the climax of the process of the Redemption of the Israelites. The Ramban develops the theme that the Mishkan was designed to enable the spiritual heights reached at Sinai to become something permanent within the lives of the Israelites. The Ramban develops the theme that the structures of the Mishkan represented different aspects of Divine Revelation, For example the Aron Hakodesh - where G-d spoke to Moses, symbolized the top of Mount Sinai - where He communicated the Torah to Moses. The S'forno, however, views the Mishkan very differently. He maintains that Revelation at Sinai should have been sufficient to bring the entire Israelite nation to the level of 'nevua' - prophecy - and thus no Mishkan should have been needed. The sanctuary became necessary, however, after the Israelites followed the path of idolatry with the Golden Calf. The Rambam, in the Guide to the Perplexed, takes a similar, but more radical line than the S'forno. He holds that the Mishkan gave the Israelites the concrete contact with G-d that they needed to spiritually survive, following their having been in cultures which had concrete forms of idolatry.
2. According to Hirsch:
(a) The word 'teruma' (25:2) comes from 'rum' - to uplift. Thus the effect of the contributions that the Israelites would give for the construction of the Tabernacle would spiritually 'uplift' the givers, and their concept of the wealth with which G-d blessed them.
(b) 'They shall make a sanctuary for Me, so that I may dwell among them' (25:8) refers to the personal lives of the Israelites. When the nation carries out that primary responsibility, G-d responds by dwelling amongst them.
3. According to Abarbanel, the prohibition of graven images was applied only where they were to become objects of worship. The Cherubim were not intermediaries between Man and G-d, but deep symbols of the Almighty's deeds - commanded by G-d Himself.
4. The Ramban, basing himself on the Talmud (Yoma 76b), explains that G-d does not create things out of nothing, but out what already exists. For example, in the story of Elisha and the Shunnamite woman (Kings II 4), G-d caused the oil to miraculously reproduce itself from the small jug of oil that the destitute woman managed to produce. Similarly with the Table. By the merit of the bread placed there weekly, the 'crown of prosperity' ensured that plenty flowed to the entire Israelite nation.
5. According to the S'forno, the three flames on the right of the central shaft of the seven-branched Menorah symbolize intellectual ideas, and those of the left symbolize the thought applied to the various skills and labors applied to earning a living. All must be guided and directed by the centrality of Torah teachings, as indicated by the flame of the central shaft - pointing directly upwards.
FURTHER QUESTIONS ON PARASHAT TERUMA
Proportionally, the four Parashiot of the Torah recounting the details of the construction of the Mishkan occupy a very large section of the Torah. This becomes obvious when comparing it with the relatively small amount of space given to the vast majority of Mitzvot between Man and G-d, and between Man and Man. Why is this so?
My efforts at tackling the issues raised in #1 and #2 may be found on the Shema Yisrael website for Parashat Teruma for 5761.
Please note that the first three diagrams are adapted from 'Melechet Machashevet' - issued by the Vaad L'Ezras Chinuch of Gateshead, UK (1974), and the final one is adapted from the series of diagrams in 'The Stone Edition' of the ArtScroll Chumash (1995).
Written by Jacob Solomon. Tel 02 673 7998. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org for any points you wish to raise and/or to join those that receive this Parasha sheet every week.
Also by Jacob Solomon:
This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah Network
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