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February 17, 2024: Parashah Torah Portion Terumah

This week’s Parashah Torah Portion Terumah is taken from Exodus 25:1-27:19. Join Dr. Jeffery Myers, as he answers the question "What does the Tabernacle have to do with "The Birth of a Nation" and their journey from slavery to freedom? The answer is "tzimtzum!"


Follow along in the AUDIO PODCAST, by clicking on the play button below, and reading along with the notes, as you listen to today's Torah Portion:

Parashah Torah Portion Terumah - Exodus 25:1-27:19

Lion of Judah Speaks: Parashah Torah Portion Terumah - Exodus 25:1-27:19


Terumah (or T’rumah) is the portion dealing with contribution and the building of the Tabernacle.  It outlines the construction of the Tabernacle, the portable house of worship that was built and carried with them through the wilderness.  It is His house finished in exhaustive and exhausting detail.  Almost the whole of the last third of the book of Exodus is dedicated to the Tabernacle.  Why so long?  Why such detail?  After all, it is just a temporary home for the Divine Presence!

 

We could even ask the question; Why in the Book of Exodus at all and not Leviticus, which is overwhelmingly devoted to the account of the service of the Mishkan and sacrifices that were offered there.  The Book of Exodus could be subtitled “birth of a nation.”  It is about the transition of the Israelites from a family, to a people and their journey from slavery to freedom.  It’s climax: The Covenant between Elohim and the people at Mt. Sinai!  What does the Tabernacle to do with this?

 

 

Let’s recall a little of the Israelites history until now…it’s been a long series of complaints.  They complained about Moses’  first appearance at Red Sea, after the crossing they complained about a lack of water, food, and water again, they then complained after the revelation at Mt. Sinai, which is the only time in history Elohim appeared to an entire nation, as they made a Golden Calf.

 

Let’s face it…if an unprecedented sequence of miracles cannot bring about a mature response on the part of the people…what will?  It is then Elohim said, “Let them build something together.”  This transformed the Israelites!  The people contributed gold, silver, bronze, skins, drapes, and time and skill.  They gave so much that Moses had to order them to stop…Stop and listen to this truth…It is not what Elohim does for us that transforms us.  It is what we do for Elohim!

 

As long as every crisis was dealt with by Moses and miracles, the Israelites remained in a state of dependency…their default response was complaint!  In order to grow into adulthood and responsibility there had to be a transition from passive recipients of Elohim’s blessings to active creators.  The people had to become “Elohim’s partners in the work of creation.”  The sages say, “Call them not your children, but your builders.”  People have to become builders if they are to grow from childhood to adulthood.  Biblical Judaism; Torah; the walking it out is Elohim’s call to responsibility!

 

Elohim does not want us to rely on miracles or be dependent on others.  Elohim wants us to become His partner, recognizing that what we have, we have from Him, but what we make of what we have is up to us, our choices, and our effort.  This is not an easy balance.  It’s easy to live a life of dependency, and it is equally as easy in the opposite direction to slip into the mistake of saying, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me” (Deut. 8:17).

 

The Jewish view of the human condition is that everything we achieve is due to our own efforts but equally and essentially the result of Elohim’s blessing.  The building of the Tabernacle was the first great building project the Israelites undertook together.  It involved their generosity and skill.  It gave them the chance to give back to Elohim a little of what was given to them.  It conferred on them the dignity of labor and creative endeavor.  It brought forth the birth of a nation and a future.

 

They were creating a society in which everyone would play their part…It was to become “the home we built together.”  This however, creates one of the biggest challenges:  It is the greatest challenge of any leader to give the people the chance to give, to contribute, and to participate!  This requires self- restraint (tzimtzum)…creating the space for others to lead!

 

Look at Moses when he went up the mountain:  When a central power – even Elohim Himself – does everything on behalf of the people, they remain in a state of arrested development.  They complain instead of act!  They give way to despair and when the leader is missing, they do foolish things like create a golden calf.

 

We have to be a people who are co-architects of our own destiny.  We have to build something together.  We must be a team; you are not helpless but responsible and capable of collaborative action.  Genesis begins with Elohim creating the universe as a home for human beings.  Exodus ends with human beings creating the Mishkan, as a home for Elohim.  Therefore, the basic principle of Judaism is that we are called on to become co-creators with Elohim.  This means that leaders do not do the work on behalf of the people; we are to teach the people how to do the work themselves.

 

Again…it is not what Elohim does for us but what we do for Elohim that allows us to reach dignity and responsibility.  The Temple was not simply a big church or synagogue…it was the dwelling place of Elohim on earth!  It housed the Presence (Ex. 25:9).  Churches and synagogues are descendants of the Tabernacle/Temple.  They are modeled after the Mishkan.  Though we can feel the Presence of Elohim… in the Tabernacle Elohim was present in a far more concrete and absolute way.  It wasn’t a matter of feelings of spiritual intensity; it was a matter of fact!  Elohim lived in that place!

 

Ezekiel lived in the days of the Babylonian destruction of the Temple.  He saw Elohim’s people scattered among the nations.  He saw a future Temple in Jerusalem where Elohim’s Presence would return.  Until then – He prophesied that Elohim would dwell among His people as a “little sanctuary” in their midst: Ezekiel 11:16 says, “Therefore say, thus saith Adonai Elohim; Although I have cast them far off among the heathen, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come.”

 

“Little sanctuary” is understood to refer to synagogues, homes, prayer and worship services, and the Sabbath table.  Every place where Elohim’s people gather to worship Him…Elohim is present as a “little sanctuary.”  Today…we are tasting of the Presence of Elohim!  We are co-laborers together!  Exodus 25:2 says, “From every man whose heart moves him you shall raise My contribution.”

 

A true giver is not motivated by the return.  A generous person gives because his heart desires to give, and he wants to further the Kingdom.  A true giver wants to honor His Father by giving back from the resources bestowed upon him.  A true giver doesn’t think of his money or resources as belonging to him…It all belongs to Elohim!  So, when he gives, he feels no regrets.

 

A person co-laboring who gives to the work of the Kingdom should do so willingly and gladly as Paul says in II Cor. 9:6-7, “Here’s the point; he who plants sparingly also harvests sparingly.  Each should give according to what he has decided in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for Elohim loves a cheerful giver.”  Be a cheerful giver!

 

Shabbat Shalom Mishpocha,

 

Join us every Wednesday at 7 pm for Bible study and every Saturday at 11 am for Sabbath service at:

 

Lion of Judah Ministries

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Blackstone, VA.


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As we gather this Sabbath be a co-laborer with Yeshua.  Allow Him to inhabit you as He steps outside of heaven to be with us on this “HOLY” day, this “appointed day” unto Elohim.  Have a peaceful Sabbath and prepare yourself for His Presence.  See you at the altar!

Shalom Aleichem

 

 

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2 Comments


Tzimtzum!


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Amen!

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