“A Place for Your Stuff.”

“A Place for Your Stuff.”

Feb 16, 2002 By Joshua Heller | Commentary | Terumah

I’ve always appreciated a monologue by George Carlin on the topic of “a place for your stuff.” The comedian describes the way we accumulate physical things in our homes and basements. When we travel, we take a smaller version of our “stuff” with us.

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A Thought on Physician-Assisted Suicide

A Thought on Physician-Assisted Suicide

Feb 15, 1997 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Terumah

This week Shabbat follows by a day the date assigned by the Talmud (the 7th of Adar) for the death of Moses. The Torah leaves us entirely in the dark as to when Moses died. We are told only at the very end of Deuteronomy that Moses died alone atop Mount Nebo, looking out over the Promised Land. Though advanced in years, Moses did not die of old age: “Moses was 120 years old when he died; his eyes were undimmed and his vigor unabated (34:7).” That is, he died suddenly, without illness and suffering, or in the words of Rashi, by the touch of a divine kiss (on the basis of the phrase “al pi adonai;” literally, “by the mouth of God” – 34:5).

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When to Give

When to Give

Feb 4, 2007 By Matthew Berkowitz | Commentary | Terumah

In many ways, Parashat T’rumah represents a thematic transition from engaging biblical narrative to technical description and detail. As the parashah opens, we become privy to the details of the Tabernacle and its appurtenances. And while we are initially dazzled by the vibrant colors and materials, the details become overwhelming. Our eyes glaze over, and it is difficult for the reader to engage. Sensing this challenge to his congregants, the classical fifteenth-century bible commentator Abarbanel opened his treatise on this parashah with an important word of encouragement.

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Within Us

Within Us

Mar 4, 2006 By Matthew Berkowitz | Commentary | Terumah

Parashat Terumah is concerned with the building of the mishkan or Tabernacle, the portable sanctuary that accompanied the Israelites on their desert journey. The parashah opens with an appeal by God and Moses to the entire community of Israelites; all are encouraged to participate voluntarily to the building of this sacred space. Plans are detailed, appurtenances are described extensively, and later the construction begins. Exodus 25:8 declares, “And let them make me a sanctuary and I will dwell in their midst.” Given the connotations of a mikdash, sanctuary, we might assume that God’s presence would dwell in this space. The second half of the verse surprises us, however, stressing God’s dwelling not in a specific physical place but amidst the people.

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Building Our Holy Places

Building Our Holy Places

Feb 28, 2004 By Rachel Ain | Commentary | Terumah

“They shall make me a tabernacle so that I may dwell amongst them.” This verse in this week’s parashah, T’rumah, is significant for all of us who are committed to the building of a strong and committed Jewish community. The desire to have God dwell amongst us is a goal for which rabbis, educators, cantors and other Jewish professionals strive. The ability to create a sense of kedushah (holiness) by the dwelling of God in that space is an ideal for our Jewish community.

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Whole Bread

Whole Bread

Feb 8, 2003 By Lewis Warshauer | Commentary | Terumah

The weekly Torah readings are moving into territory unfamiliar to our contemporary experience. The Book of Genesis, set mainly in the Canaan and Egypt, mentions places that still exist and people whose names still resonate. The beginning of the Book of Exodus, with its account of the liberation from Egypt, maintains its grip today because that liberation continues to be a focus of Jewish consciousness and celebration.

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The Women’s Section

The Women’s Section

Feb 16, 2002 By Lewis Warshauer | Commentary | Terumah

A woman of valor–who can find her? In ancient Israel, the place one could not find her was in the Temple, except in a section called the ezrat nashim — literally, women’s territory. Only men served in the Temple as priests and Levites. This was partly a consequence of monotheism. In other ancient religions, with goddesses as well as gods, women would often control thetemples to goddesses.

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The Golden Calf and the Tabernacle

The Golden Calf and the Tabernacle

Feb 20, 2010 By Stephen A. Geller | Commentary | Terumah

Just before Parashat T’rumah begins, the divine Glory descends on Mount Sinai for six days, covering it with a cloud. On the seventh day God summons Moses, who enters the cloud, ascends the mountain and remains there for forty days and nights. The parashah itself begins with a divine command to take offerings (t’rumah) of precious metals, rare cloths, and other items to construct a mishkan, a tenting place (“tabernacle”) in the midst of Israel, together with all its sacred objects and vessels.

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