Parshat Terumah: Our bond with the Creator

We mention often that in order to relate with someone or something, we must have a common trait or quality that make possible such relationship. In other words, there must be something that binds both parts, particularly when their connection transcends life itself. We also have said that in Judaism, the quality that binds Israel and their God is certainly love, understood as the kind of goodness that unfolds and manifests as an ethical principle.

In our other commentaries on this portion of the Torah, we referred to the several items that shape and build the Tabernacle as elements that represent the most exalted and refined traits in human consciousness. The reason is quite obvious, because in order to relate and bond with our Creator we do so through the best in all aspects, facets and expressions of life. These refined qualities are actually ways, means and attributes aimed to make goodness prevail in our approach to life in the world.

We also referred to the golden candelabra, the oil and the commanded perpetual lighting, as the permanent testimony of what the Jewish people came to be, have and do as individuals and as the people the Creator commands to be the light for the nations. Light again is brought up as the quintessential representation of goodness.

The commandment as an invitation to build the Tabernacle and the Temple of Jerusalem then requires from us a wholehearted willingness, motivated only by our love for the Creator, in order to establish the permanent awareness of our connection to Him. Our Sages tell us that the Tabernacle is the antidote for the transgression of the Golden Calf, because while the latter caused our separation from God, the former brought us back to Him.

In this sense we realize that what brings us closer to our Creator is what we have in common with Him, while what separates us from Him is different or contrary to this bond we call goodness. Thus we also understand that goodness is the expression of the kind of love God wants us to have as our bond with Him.

We remind ourselves twice daily about this, when we recite the prelude to the culmination of this bond, evoked in the fundamental statement, “Hear, Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One”; and its reiteration immediately after, when He commands us to love Him with all our heart, soul and might.

In this loving bond is conceived our connection and relationship with Him. In this awareness we realize that the building of the Tabernacle and the Temple of Jerusalem occurs when only the best in us, inspired and driven by goodness as the sublime expression of love, is brought out to shape, define and rise up our permanent bond with the Creator; and fulfill His commandment for us to make a space for Him to dwell in our midst forever.

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 Zefat.
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