Terumah (Exodus 25:1-27:19)

My synagogue just sold its building:

tph DE-Wilmington-AKSE-a-300x199

I try not to get attached to buildings, even ones that hold very personal memories.  They always change, so they don’t match my memories anyway.  And some are totally “repurposed.”  The hospital where my father worked and I was born is now a Korean Presbyterian church. My first synagogue is a senior center. My second, where I went to Hebrew school after the first’s closed, is a Baptist church. Even my childhood home is a church, albeit a very small one, the Church of the Living God Healing and Miracle Center.  But the groups that occupied these buildings survive. The hospital relocated, my first synagogue’s congregation merged with another, my second relocated, and my family moved.  Similarly, my current synagogue’s building has been sold, but the congregation is still alive, renting space from a nearby synagogue.

We had a farewell ceremony for the building on February 3. Very fittingly, this week’s Torah reading, Terumah, focuses on the design of another congregational building, the Tabernacle (mishkan) with all its accoutrements – curtains, Ark, table, menorah, etc.- and courtyard and altar.  The design is very specific; you can buy reasonably-priced Tabernacle model kits, even a 3D puzzle, online.  This is not a little wooden shack.  The materials include silver, gold, copper, dyed wool, fine linen, goats’ hair. skins, spices, oil, and gemstones, all donated gifts from the people.  The details of the design are presented lovingly, with the excitement of anyone building a dream house.

But why have a Tabernacle at all, a corporeal house for an incorporeal God?  According to Martin Buber, building a Tabernacle enables the people to connect with God by carrying out, in a small way, their own act of Creation.  Buber identified seven such parallels (Nehama Leibowitz, New Studies in Shemot, vol. 2, pp. 480-1):

tph terumah v. creation

The key reason for the Tabernacle is found in verse 25:8:

וְעָ֥שׂוּ לִ֖י מִקְדָּ֑שׁ וְשָׁכַנְתִּ֖י בְּתוֹכָֽם׃

And let them make Me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them.

The Tabernacle is a focal point for ritual, but more importantly, it will enable the people to experience a closeness, an intimacy with God in a beautiful, sheltered place.  But God also benefits from “dwelling among” the people and getting to know and understand them.  The concept of “dwelling among them” goes beyond the ancient Tabernacle to this day. As Rabbi Edward Feinstein wrote about 25:8 (sorry, I lost the 2017 link), “We are to build a place for God to dwell in our world, in our lives. Not on high. But down here in the rhythms of daily experience God wishes to dwell.”  For us of Adas Kodesch Shel Emeth Congregation, those rhythms of daily experience will continue, no matter what building we dwell in.

Shabbat shalom,



Jokes About Buildings and Builders

Did you hear the joke about the roof?
Never mind, it’s over your head!

Did you hear they’re changing the flooring in daycare centers?
They’re calling it infant-tile!

What nails do carpenters hate hammering?

Why can’t your nose be 12 inches long?
Because then it would be a foot!

What area of a room is the warmest?
The corner – it’s always about 90 degrees!




November 12, 2010

If Ikea Made Instructions for Everything

tph Ikea house


https://i.pinimg.com/originals/64/39/e1/6439e1fd3254ebced41d0e934b340676. jpg

tph design process



Nonprofit jokes that are bad — for good (selections)

by George Weiner

The nonprofit sector tackles an exponential amount of serious issues facing our world and society, all for the greater good. In that spirit, we’ve created this (frankly terrible) list of bad jokes about nonprofits and fundraising to make you smile, to use at your next board meeting, or to populate your Twitter feed. #sorrynotsorry

Nonprofit jokes: Matching gifts

1.Why did Duracell donate batteries for their matching gift program?
They were free of charge.

3.Why did the matching gift program at the sushi restaurant fail?
It was fishy.

5.Why did the beaver company’s matching gift test succeed?
It was the best dam program.

Nonprofit jokes: Corporate donors

6.Why did Coca Cola’s recycling plant stop its giving program?
It was soda-pressing.

Nonprofit jokes: Event planning

9.How do you organize a fundraiser for the Earth?
You plan-et.

Nonprofit jokes: Donor relations

19.Why did the clown donate his salary?
It was a nice jester.

20.What did the beekeeper say to the fundraising ask?



Donate to Charity

I won $3 million on the lottery this weekend so I decided to donate a quarter of it to charity. Now I have $2,999,999.75.


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1 Response to Terumah (Exodus 25:1-27:19)

  1. Pingback: Vayak’hel (Exodus 35:1 – 38:20), Shabbat Shekalim | Torah Portion Humor Weekly

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