Terumah (Exodus 25:1-27:19)

This week, we read the Lord’s very detailed instructions to Moses on the design, building, and furnishing of the Tabernacle (Mishkan).  This leads us (or at least me) to ask two questions. First, why build a Tabernacle? The beautiful language of 25:8 sets the tone: “And let them make Me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them.” This is one of those instances in which the Lord seems to understand that the Israelites need to be brought along carefully and deliberately from spiritual slavery to freedom.  The Tabernacle is to be a tangible spiritual focal point (“tangible” turns out to be an important need, as we’ll read in a few weeks), an omnipresent  reminder of who they are and what they have experienced.  Nachmanides’ opinion was that the Tabernacle provided a way for the spiritual heights reached at Mt. Sinai to become a permanent part of their existence.  

The people are to be asked to provide “gold, silver, and copper; 4 blue, purple, and crimson yarns, fine linen, goats’ hair; 5 tanned ram skins, dolphin skins, and acacia wood; 6 oil for lighting, spices for the anointing oil and for the aromatic incense; 7 lapis lazuli and other stones for setting” [Ex. 25:3-7].  Moreover, unlike the half-shekel head tax, this is to be a gift of however much one wants to give. We’ll see in a few weeks how well this worked out.  But not only are they to be told what specific materials are to be used, but they are given the precise design of the Tabernacle and everything in it (25:9):”9 Exactly as I show you — the pattern of the Tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings — so shall you make it.”   That brings us to the second question: why such detailed specifications?  Again, this is a good idea for a nation-in-training.  I’m guessing the slaves did not get much experience with building design and furnishing, at least not on this scale, so not having to come up with a design should be a relief.   This should also lead to a more harmonious atmosphere, since they won’t be fighting over any specifics (Do we have to use acacia wood? Should we have gold or silver cherubim? etc.).   Also, they can be sure that they are doing what the Lord wants (“stay inside the lines”).  And it’s certainly more efficient; since everything is already laid out for them, they can get right to it.

Next week, in Tetsaveh, we’ll read similarly detailed instructions for the priests’ vestments.  

Shabbat shalom,

[You can buy online a variety of plastic and wooden model kits to build a mini-Mishkan (just Google tabernacle model kit), which are touted as being useful for Sunday school crafts projects.  I like the software described below. IGP]

 Learning about the Mishkan [excerpt of promo]

[for more info, including price, go to http://www.artscroll.com/Books/mishd.html ]

ImageLearning about the Mishkan in Parashas Terumah and Tetzaveh is very challenging especially if there is lacking a three dimensional model of the mishkan. But we have found a valuable resource to help us along the way.
Here comes ArtScroll’s “The Mishkan” software which is the best out there that helps visualize the intricate details of the construction of the Mishkan. A picture speaks a thousand words as the saying goes.
The Mishkan
An Interactive Multimedia Computer Experience

The Mishkan: The Tabernacle, its structure, its sacred vessels, and the Kohen’s vestments. is a breakthrough educational software program that is an astounding and unprecedented achievement in the audiovisual presentation of Torah knowledge!



Alternate opinions
Detailed dimensions
Animations of the details in the verse
 Watch the Mishkan, its vessels, and the Kohen’s garments being constructed and assembled
Take a self-guided tour of the entire Mishkan – YOU are in control



Dream Home

We’d finally built our dream home, but the contractor had a concern: the placement of an atrium window for our walk-in shower. “I’m afraid your neighbors might have a good view of you au naturel,” he said.

My middle-aged wife put him at ease. “Don’t worry,” she said. “They’ll only look once.”



Real Estate Humor
From Tom Antion & Associates
Realtor sign–We have “lots” to be thankful for.
Realtor: first you folks tell me what you can afford, then we’ll have a good laugh and go on from there.
The dream of the older generation was to pay off a mortgage. The dream of today’s young families is to get one.
If you think no one cares you’re alive, miss a couple of house payments.
My buyers went through debt consolidation. Now they have only one bill they won’t pay.
I listed a maintenance free house. In the last 25 years there hasn’t been any maintenance.
Did you hear about Robin Hood’s house? It has a little John.
Trivia: The floors of buildings are called stories because early European builders used to paint picture stories on
       the sides of their houses. Each floor had a different story.
A lot of homes have been spoiled by inferior desecrators.–Frank Lloyd Wright
Home is where the mortgage is.
Home: A place when you go there they have to take you in. (R. Frost)
Charity: A thing that begins at home and usually stays there.
The trouble with owning a home is that no matter where you sit, you’re looking at something you should be doing.
They have an all electric home. Everything in it is charged.
Homesickness What you feel every month when the mortgage is due.




Only in Russia – Architect Humor

All we need now are the clues to go with it! IGP.

Decorating Anecdotes


        Martha Stewart: Camp Cupcake Contest
During her incarceration at “Camp Cupcake” (after her trial for insider trading) Martha Stewart entered a jailhouse decorating contest – and lost!


        Old Complaint?

Shortly after luring his parents from rural New England to the West Coast, the writer Ben Irwin took them to meet Charles Laughton. Having introduced himself, the actor showed his visitors around his large home discoursing at length on his magnificent art collection.

Irwin was dismayed that his parents appeared bored by the visit; indeed his mother said very little until they were back in the car driving home. “Did you notice?” she then suddenly remarked. “Notice what?” her husband asked. “All that furniture,” she exclaimed, “and no doilies!”

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