Parshat Terumah: Bonding with God’s love

Our sages tell us that the establishment of the Tabernacle is the means to atone for the transgression of the golden calf. They also say that is the means to clean our consciousness from negative traits and trends in consciousness, a mikveh or even a fire to transmute wrong into right within us, and restore goodness as the cause and expression of all facets of life.

“Speak to the children of Israel, that they take an offering for me. From everyone whose heart makes him willing you shall take my offering.” (Exodus 25:2)

In this portion the Torah lists the elements God requires from the Jewish people to take for Him, in order to build the Tabernacle. Taking instead of giving makes us reflect on the verse, for both verbs seem to be opposite to each other. The Creator is asking us not to give from us but to take in us regarding this particular commandment. It seems to sound like it is not about something we possess in order to give, but something that we are to be taken from ourselves and present it to God.

Context is essential in this case, for it is not about what we have with ourselves but in ourselves that we must be more than willing, actually compelled to bring as a necessary offering to the Creator. Compelling because it is about something we need to bring to God in order to establish in our consciousness the permanent awareness of our connection with Him, and that is what the Tabernacle and the Temple of Jerusalem are and represent.

“And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among [in] them.” (25:8)

The previous verses (25:3-7) and the rest of them in this portion describe the ways all those items are to be shaped and set to erect the Tabernacle. We have referred to their inner meanings in our other commentaries in this blog on parshat Terumah (“Building a house for the Creator” of 01/29/2014, “Elevating life to God’s love” of 02/17/2015, and “The Sanctuary as the connection with God’s love” of 02/08/2016). We summarize them here as traits, trends, qualities, abilities, talents and skills, along with emotions, feelings, intensity and instincts, to be filled, guided and expressed with their positive potentials driven by a lovingly compelled heart.

Incidentally, all these are encompassed by the particular ways and attributes of the twelve tribes of Israel, chosen by the Creator to fulfill His will to make goodness prevail in all aspects and dimensions of life and the material world. These elements are what we take in us to bond permanently with God’s ways and attributes as common links between Him and us, and also the remedy to clean our consciousness from negative traits and trends triggered by ego’s materialistic fantasies and illusions, represented by the cult of the golden calf.

“As for this house which you are building, if you walk in My statutes, and execute My ordinances, and keep all My commandments to walk in them; then will I establish My word with you, which I spoke to David your father.” (I Kings 6:12)

In this awareness we are reminded to keep our ways, means and ends always in the frame of goodness, represented by God’s will to make it prevail. We do it by compelling our heart to be, to have and manifest the best we take in us for doing the best we can for ourselves, for others and our surroundings, as God requires for us to build our permanent connection with Him.

“For if you thoroughly amend your ways and your doings; if you thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbor. (…) then I will let you dwell in this place [the Temple of Jerusalem], in the land that I gave to your fathers for all the eternity.” (Jeremiah 7:5, 7)

We must understand judgment and justice as a pattern or path to walk by, for they are the ways one directs his life. We are supposed to conduct ourselves with a positive attitude as a “good judgment”, and being ruled by it all the time. Thus our goodness permanently bonds with God’s goodness as it has been meant to be from the beginning.

“And I will dwell therein among [in] the children of Israel, and will not forsake My people Israel.” (I Kings 6:13)

About the Author
Ariel Ben Avraham was born in Colombia (1958) from a family with Sephardic ancestry. He studied Cultural Anthropology in Bogota, and lived twenty years in Chicago working as a radio and television producer and writer. He emigrated to Israel in 2004, and for the last fourteen years has been studying the Chassidic mystic tradition, about which he writes and teaches. Based on his studies, he wrote his first book "God's Love" in 2009. He currently lives in Kochav Yaakov.
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