Parshas Terumah
Exodus 25:1 - 27:19

G-d Dwelling Among Us! ©

By Dr. Akiva G. Belk

This study of the weekly parsha is dedicated in the loving memory of Mrs. Ethel Sakash Belk, my mother, may she rest in peace .

"And spoke Hashem to Moshe saying, 'Speak to B'nei Yisroel and have them take for Me a gift offering from all men whose hearts desire to donate. Take My gift offering... And [B'nei Yisroel shall] prepare a holy place for Me [so] I shall reside among them." Exodus 25:1,2,8

This is a fascinating passage in the Torah because this mitzvah given thousands of years ago commanding us to "prepare a place for Hashem to dwell" is still so very relevant today! Yet then B'nei Yisroel was embarking on preparing the Mishkon, the "tabernacle / sanctuary" in the wilderness. Then they had a focal point for Hashem's residence among them. It is extremely sad and unfortunate that today we have neither the Mishkon nor the Bais HaMikdosh {Holy Temple} as our focal point. YET, thank G-d, we still have the command, the Mitzvah, "prepare a holy place for Me [so] I shall reside among them."

The purpose of the Mishkon... the purpose of the Bais HaMikdosh is not only for Hashem to reside among us but for us to have the opportunity, the OPEN DOOR, to offer... to have the choice to offer... to have the opportunity to bring offerings to Hashem our G-d in the place, the location that He has chosen! In Mitzriam {Egypt} the issue was essentially the same. "This is what Hashem, G-d of Yisroel, says, 'Send out My people that they may celebrate to Me...{that they may have the opportunity to offer...} in the wilderness.'" Exodus 5:1 Then the issue was we were captives in Mitzriam. Today the issue is we are captives in Yisroel, G-d forbid!! Then Pharaoh would not let us go until Hashem brought judgment on him and Mitzriam. Today the large powerful nations of the world... the, if you will, large powerful religions of the world hold us, Yisroel, a tiny nation captive in our own country! They have their Mecca... their Dome of the Rock... their manger... their Bethlehem... and we the Jewish nation have our country so to speak but NOT OUR TEMPLE!! WE DO NOT HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO OFFER where and as Hashem has commanded us!! However the mid of night is approaching like thousands of years ago. That is clear as DAY! Hashem Who delivered us thousands of years ago AGAIN will deliver us! Hashem will judge the nations of the world. That day of judgment is not distant... Thank G-d! We will again have our focal point and the opportunity to offer! Thank G-d! Then we were forcibly expelled. Now they will be forcibly expelled! IT WILL HAPPEN!!

Holy reader, America,the great nation that both defends and constrains Yisroel, will NOT be a part of our defense nor our constraint. Those of us Jews who live in America should consider what this means.......................................................................................................................................

Now, holy reader, one of the issues today is how do we fulfill this great mitzvah "...prepare a holy place for Me [so] I shall reside among them" when we HAVE NEITHER A MISHKON nor BAIS HAMIKDOSH? First let me say, I am not a soldier. I do NOT advocate war! A war was NOT required to deliver B'nei Yisroel from Mitzriam thousands of years ago! Yet today war seems to be the answer. Peace negotiations mean little... G-d forbid!

Dear reader, leading up to B'nei Yisroel's deliverance by Hashem during the plague of darkness, where "no man could see his brother" for three days and where "no one could stand from his place of sitting" {Exodus 10:23} for an additional three days because the darkness greatly increased during that second three days, RASHI SAYS that the deserters {the evil Jews who did not wish to leave Mitzriam} died and were buried. Think about it! B'nei Yisroel could have fled during that time. Why did they stay? They fulfilled the mitzvah of burying the dead. The point is that before their deliverance many Jews died. In other words, Hashem dealt with our disobedience first, then the disobedience of our oppressors.

Those of us who live in America should consider this... those of us who live outside of Yisroel... those of us who live among the nations that both defend and constrain Yisroel. We MUST be cautious to examine our position. We must ask ourselves, 'Are we contributing to the constraint of our brothers? Are we standing in the way? Are we a problem that Hashem will deal with before our Bais HaMikdosh can be restored? Are we like those Jews who inhibited the deliverance of B'nei Yisroel from Mitzriam? G-d forbid! I pray not!!

Holy reader, the path of change is forming. Remember that before our deliverance there was a great period of darkness...

Now, in addition to this, there is the issue of obedience among B'nei Yisroel. We are a people of diverse ideas and opinions. We express great diversity surrounding our Torah and in our interpretation and observance of our Torah. Our diversity scatters us. Then, even with a great leader like Moshe who spoke face to face with Hashem and whose revelation from Hashem was clear, there was still adversity and diversity. So how can we, who are displaced throughout the world and scattered by philosophical and religious differences, join hands and unite in the absence of Hashem's great miracles of deliverance and in the absence of a great leader like Moshe Rabbeinu? What will bring us to agreement in acknowledgment and observance of the Torah? I'm NOT sure, but we need to be extremely wary of dissension, careful in our interpretation of Torah observance. We need to carefully review our positions. We need to be cautious!

Finally there is this matter of generosity! As a nation recently delivered from Mitzriam, heartfelt generosity was required for the preparation and realization of the Mishkon. Today things appear to be in the reverse. If that assessment is correct, then generosity will proceed the expulsion of our oppressors. None the less, having a heart of generosity towards Yisroel is a great mitzvah regardless of whether or not generosity precedes or follows the expulsion of our oppressors! Holy reader, this week is a good week to send a contribution to Yisroel in honor of the mitzvah, "...prepare a holy place for Me [so] I shall reside among them." Regardless of our diversity, we can each unite around the mitzvah of blessing Yisroel with a generous contribution this week! Please join with Naomi and me as we seek to fulfill this great mitzvah.

On our sister web "SIGHT" JewishLink, under Israel, many good organizations and causes are listed. You can go directly there by clicking on the below link:

Good Shabbos!

Dr. Akiva G. Belk

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