Haftarah and Torah Summaries for Terumah – Feb. 5, 2011

Torah Summary – Terumah – Ex. 25:1 – 27:10 – p. 485 – Feb. 5, 2011

This week’s Torah portion, which could have been the original
issue of Architectural Digest, is the first in a series of five Torah portions
that detail the construction of sacred space – the Mishkan. Verse 8 of
Chapter 25 is one of the key phrases in the parashah- “ve’asu li mikdash
veshechanti betocham,” – “And let them make for Me a sanctuary that I
may dwell among them.” The Torah doesn’t say, that I may dwell in it –
the sanctuary – but among them – as Eitz Chayyim points out on page
486, in the hearts and souls of the people who lovingly construct the
sanctuary with gifts that come from the heart.

In the heart of the Mishkan is the Ark of the Covenant. Resting on
a shulchan (a holy table) together with the Ark are symbols of the
material world – the lechem hapanim (the showbread) – and the inner
light of the spirit, the golden, seven-branched menorah. This sacred
space is not enclosed in a vault. It is intricately designed with covers,
curtains, inner partitions, and outer walls — all of which are meant to be
deconstructed periodically, and rebuilt, as it and the people make their
way to Jerusalem.

Let the building and the reading begin.

Haftarah Summary – Terumah – Isaiah 66:1-24 – p. 1220

The message of today’s haftarah for Shabbat Rosh Chodesh – the
festival of the New Moon is universal acceptance — a Utopia where
everybody puts away their differences. Verse 23 foresees that after
many a “new moon after new moon, and Sabbath after Sabbath, we will
all come together through the miracle of the perfect peace of Shabbat.

Distinctions between people will fall away. Categories of people
who have been prevented from full participation in all aspects of Jewish
life and worship will melt away. We will stop stop excluding people
because of gender or gender orientation, ideology or geneology. There
will be a meritocracy, based on holding and keeping Shabbat as a
precious part of our lives.

Shabbat will be the pathway to unity – to a tolerance of differences,
to universal acceptance of all that is good and right in the world, and to
true freedom from the tyranny of oppression. We will all experience a
new way of being in and perceiving the world on — Rosh Chodesh,
through Shabbat, and into eternity.

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