Linda Pardes Friedburg
Russian-speaking American Israeli Community-building Mom

Truma: Art for our Hungry Souls

Original Tiffany Lamps and my sister Deborah, in the New York Historical Sociey Museum, February 2023 (Photo: Linda Pardes Friedburg)

I just returned from a wonderful, immersive week of cultural binge in NYC, celebrating our dear mom’s special birthday with Broadway shows, the NYC Ballet and Philharmonic, museums and more, filling our hearts and senses to the brim.

Then, reading Parshat Truma on the plane ride home, and its instructions for creating the meticulously-crafted vessels and fabrics of the Mishkan, I had an emotionally-charged, aesthetic experience on a different level.

It seems to me that the soul-satiating culture that most humans crave begins here, in the awe-inspiring, mobile Mt. Sinai of the desert, with its silken draperies of crimsons, purples and blues, its gold, silver and copper vessels and musical instruments, and the clearly appointed roles of Cohanim and Levi’im – all actors, artists, teachers, and musicians in the service of creating spiritual connection with God, and unity among our People, on holidays and every day.

The ultimate purpose of the golden Kruvim, perched above the gold encased Ark of the Covenant, is to hear God speak from between them.

And the curtains and poles of the Mishkan symbolically all connect to one another – אישה אל אחותה – to literally become one.
“וְחִבַּרְתָּ֥ אֶת־הָאֹ֖הֶל וְהָיָ֥ה אֶחָֽד” (כו:יא)

The descriptions of the Mishkan that we read in our Torah, every year for the past 2000 years, are meant to create a yearning within us, for a renewed physical manifestation of God’s love and presence among us. This is part of Jewish tradition’s vision of a refined world.

And just as we donated the wealth we took from Egypt to build this essential spiritual and educational Center, these parshiot remind us to invest our wealth in projects that build community, wisdom, service, and spirituality, as we partner with the one ethical Creator of our universe.

About the Author
Linda Pardes Friedburg made Aliyah from New Jersey in 1990. She is Founding Director of Shishi Shabbat Yisraeli National Jewish Leadership Initiative for Young Russian-Speaking Israelis, is grateful for her six kids and one Belarussian husband, and still feels the need to pinch herself every time she drives up the hill to Neve Daniel, Gush Etzion, their home since 1994. OLIM FOR TZAHAL
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