At the end of last week’s Torah portion, Moses had gone up on Mount Sinai to get the two stone tablets, i.e., the hard copy (sorry) from the Lord. We all know what he’ll find when he comes back down. For the next couple of weeks, however, the Torah readings will provide a quiet interlude in which the Lord describes in great, great detail the building and furnishing of the tabernacle, and the vestments and ordination procedure of the priests.
The portions Yitro, Mishpatim, and now Terumah illustrate a progression from the spiritual heights of Revelation at Sinai, to the framework of a legal system, to the very concrete instructions for a physical tabernacle. Why build a tabernacle? We read (25:8), “And let them make Me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them.” That verse seems so gentle and cozy to me, though the idea of the Lord living in a house is rather anthropomorphic. Rambam (Maimonides) was of the opinion that the tabernacle was a crutch, something solid to aid the people in the acceptance of an intangible Lord. Ramban (Nachmanides), on the other hand, saw the tabernacle as a means for the people to achieve a more intimate relationship with the Lord. Although they will be given the instructions, they themselves will provide the materials, the labor, and the skill. While it will be helpful to channel the people’s efforts into something constructive (sorry again), this is not merely something to do, but creation of a shared sacred space.
Even more significantly, the building of the tabernacle has parallels with Creation. Buber drew seven such parallels with Creation, shown below
Thus, the Israelites not only will be building a tabernacle that will be a constant reminder of the Lord, but by doing so, they will, in a small way, imitate the Lord’s own project of Creation. This week, though, we only read the instructions. Building will come later.
This Shabbat is also the first day of the month of Adar I, so we read the Rosh Chodesh portion (Numbers 28:9-15, Shabbat and Rosh Chodesh sacrifices) from a second scroll, and a special haftarah, Isaiah 66:1-24. We’re supposed to be joyful in Adar, and, this being a leap year, we get two months to do so, Adar I and II. Enjoy yourselves.
Not A Joke: Barbie’s 2011 Dream House Has Solar Panels, Meditation Room [abridged]
The aim of an AIA “Barbie Dream House Contest” is to inspire girls to become architects.
The American Institute of Architects has announced the winner of its Barbie Dream House competition: a four-story, eco-friendly Malibu manse with signature pink sliding doors.
AIA hosted the contest to promote Mattel’s latest addition to its “I Can Be ‘” series, Architect Barbie, who can be seen here in full professional garb: chunky glasses, construction hat, and outdated, hot-pink document holder. Winners Ting Li and Maja Paklar describe Architect Barbie as upholding “the principles set forth by USGBC [U.S. Green Building Council]” while staying “true to all the needs of a classic California girl!”
The “California girl” translates to a 1,500-square-foot entertaining space and open chef’s kitchen, a separate library and client-meeting room, a full-floor “inspiration room,” a greenhouse on the roof, and a landscaped garden for a menagerie of pets. The USGBC part: solar panels, operable shading, bamboo flooring, low-flow fixtures, and locally sourced materials.
Mattel won’t be producing the house. Unwittingly, the competition serves to spotlight one of the biggest obstacles facing female architects: getting their projects built.
BELINDA LANKS Belinda Lanks is the editorial director of Co.Design
Robert Leighton, from the New Yorker
(If you have the misfortune to be unfamiliar with M. C. Escher, go to: https://www.facebook.com/M.C.EscherPage IGP)
From 3650 Jokes, Puns, and Riddles
By Anne Kostick, Charles Foxgrover, Michael J. Pellowski, p. 58
Do-it-yourselfer: This prefab house is no good. I want my money back.
Salesman: There’s nothing wrong with the house. You put it together upside down.
Do-it-yourselfer: No wonder I kept falling off the porch!
Bill Gates Dream House
While the Gates’ are moving in from their temporary quarters nearby, final construction of their new house is not expected to be completed until the end of the year…….
Bill: There are a few issues we need to discuss.
Contractor: Ah, you have our basic support option. Calls are free for the first 90 days and $75 a call thereafter. Okay?
Bill: Uh, yeah… the first issue is the living room. We think it’s a little smaller than we anticipated.
Contractor: Yeah. Some compromises were made to have it out by the release date.
Bill: We won’t be able to fit all our furniture in there.
Contractor: Well, you have two options. You can purchase a new, larger living room; or you can use a Stacker.
Contractor: Yeah, it allows you to fit twice as much furniture into the room. By stacking it, of course, you put the entertainment center on the couch… the chairs on the table… etc. You leave an empty spot, so when you want to use some furniture you can unstack what you need and then put it back when you’re done.
Bill: Uh… I dunno… issue two is the light fixtures. The bulbs we brought with us from our old home won’t fit. The threads run the wrong way.
Contractor: Oh! That’s easy. Those bulbs aren’t plug and play. You’ll have to upgrade to the new bulbs.
Bill: And the electrical outlets? The holes are round, not rectangular. How do I fix that?
Contractor: Just uninstall and reinstall the electrical system.
Bill: You’re kidding!?
Contractor: Nope. It’s the only way.
Bill: sigh, Well… I have one last problem. Sometimes, when I have guests over, someone will flush the toilet and it won’t stop. Then the water pressure drops so low that the showers don’t work.
Contractor: That’s a resource leakage problem. One fixture is failing to terminate and is hogging the resources preventing access from other fixtures.
Bill: And how do I fix that?
Contractor: Well, after each flush, you all need to exit the house, turn off the water at the street, turn it back on, re-enter the house and then you can get back to work.
Bill: That’s the last straw. What kind of product are you selling me?
Contractor: Hey, if you don’t like it nobody made you buy it.
Bill: And when will this be fixed?
Contractor: Oh, in your next house which will be ready to release sometime near the end of next year. Actually it was due out this year, but we’ve had some delays…