Updated: Feb 21, 2021
Preparing HaShem's Earthly Abode
With the exception of the idolatrous act by some Israelites coming up in Parshat Ki Tissa the remainder of Exodus is dedicated to the preparation and construction of the Mishkan — HaShem’s Tabernacle — the dwelling place for His Presence with His people Israel; as well as, vestments, ornamentals and priestly duties in the Tabernacle.
Unless you are an architect by trade some may find Parshat Terumah a bit laborious in its detailed description, but it is very important as we will soon see.
One does have to ask however — Was a Mishkan even necessary? HaShem’s Presence was witnessed by His people first hand just a few months earlier at the Sea of Reeds with its miraculous partying. HaShem was leading them by a pillar of cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night. He was providing them with bread (manna) and meat (quail) and their clothing was showing no signs of wear and tear. What more did they need?
Obviously, as future readings will reveal; our ancestors, being steeped in over 210 years of slave mentality and their continued flirtation with idolatry [SEE: the upcoming infamous Golden Calf incident in Exodus Chapters 32 and 33] — required something more concrete to eventually bring them around to a full appreciation of their newly discovered liberty, their service to and fear of Adonai. What they needed was an active participation in the worship and service of the G-d of their ancestors, not just shows of power and the miraculous. They needed to be busy going about preparing an abode for HaShem that would allow them to be an active part in His Life and He in theirs — And nothing says that better than creating a home for Him among them built to His Divine specifications and instructions.
“They shall make a Sanctuary for Me — so that I may dwell among them — “ Exodus 25:8
With these words HaShem turns the people from a slave race into a cooperative unit willingly dedicated to one purpose and goal — building Adonai’s House among them.
“Speak to the Children of Israel and let them take for Me a portion from every person whose heart motivates him.” Exodus 25:1
No more forced labor. They are fully free at last to choose to serve of their own accord.
Until next week — Shabbat Shalom.