The Weekly Sedra – Parshas Terumah

The Rebbe says:

1. In this week’s Torah portion Hashem tells the Yidin (Jewish people) to make a dwelling place for Him; the Jewish people are to take 13 different types of supplies and donate them to the Tabernacle (Mishkan). Hashem then promises the Yidin that He will rest in the Tabernacle that they will make for Him (Chapter 25, Verse 8).

Hashem was saying that even though the Tabernacle would be very limited to an exact size and specific materials, He would rest there. Even though the Tabernacle would go with the Yidin on their journeys throughout the desert and be moved from place to place, Hashem promises to rest there.

2. The Rebbe now asks a question:

Question: We know that obviously Hashem is not limited (at all, including not being limited) by time and space, as it says “Hashem’s presence fills the whole world” (Jeremiah, Chapter 23, Verse 24). So why did Hashem tell the Jewish people to make one specific place where He would rest?? And not only did Hashem limit Himself and say that He would rest in one place, Hashem even said that the one place He would rest must have very exact measurements and be made of specific materials. This limits Him even more!?

3. The Rebbe adds to the question:

In the Tabernacle and in the Beis Hamikdash (the Holy Temple) one of the main services (Avodah) was burning the sacrifices (Karbonos).

The sacrificial service had two elements to it: 1) The physical part (physically burning an animal on the Altar) and 2) The spiritual part. Our Sages tell us that now in exile when we don’t have the Tabernacle or Temple and we can’t bring sacrifices on the Altar we should pray to Hashem instead (Tractate Berachos, Page 26, Side 2).

The Torah tells us that the Beis Hamikdash (the Holy Temple) is always the gate which our prayers must go through to reach Heaven (Genesis, Chapter 28, Verse 17). This means that even after the destruction of the Temple, while we wait for the third and final Temple to be given to us, our prayers must still go through this gate to reach Heaven. This is why we pray facing the Temple; because it is the gate through which our prayers go through. As it says “And they pray to You through their land” (Kings 1, Chapter 8, Verse 48).

Question: Praying to Hashem is something spiritual. Praying is when we meditate about Hashem and think about all the great things Hashem constantly does for us and we try to arouse a passionate love to be close to Hashem. So if prayer is a totally spiritual thing, why is it connected to the physical place of the Beis Hamikdash?? Why must we face the Temple when we pray?

4. The Rebbe now answers and explains everything:

Everything will be understood based on the rule “The higher something is, the lower it goes”:

Since the dwelling place for Hashem was very limited, we know for sure that an extremely high level of G-dliness was going there. Actually since this level of G-dliness was so high, it had to come down so low. Meaning:

Hashem is totally and truly not limited. This means that just like Hashem is above the boundary of time and space, he is also above being limited to being above time and space. To make this more clear: 1) Hashem is not limited to time and space. 2) Hashem is also not limited to only being able to be above time and space. So Hashem is truly limitless.

So since Hashem is totally limitless (above time and space, and above being limited to higher then time and space) He can only truly rest in a place which unifies space and above space. Now this phenomenon took place in the Tabernacle and in the Temple: On one hand they were made of certain materials and exact measurements and their utensils were specific and exact. On the other hand the Jews saw with their own eyes that within these defined limits miracles were happening (as we know there were 10 miracles that happened every day in the Temple). For example- the people stood tightly pressed together yet had room to prostate themselves with ease [Editors note: For a list of the other 9 miracles that happened everyday in the Temple, please go to http://english.thekotel.org/library/default.asp?catid=70].

Especially in the Holy of Holies (the Kodash Hakadashim) did the Jews see the unification of space and higher then space: The Holy of Holies was a perfect square of 10 cubits by 10 cubits and the Aron Hakodesh (the Holy Ark) was placed in the center of the Holy of Holies. Now the Holy Ark was a cubit and a half broad, and two and a half cubits long (about 3.75 x 2.25 feet). Therefore the laws of nature would say that if you measure from any edge of the Holy Ark to the wall of the Holy of Holies there would not be 5 cubits, because the whole space of the Holy of Holies was 10 cubits and obviously the Holy Ark took up space. However there was a phenomenon that even when you measured from each edge of the Holy Ark to the walls of the Holy of Holies there was 5 cubits between each! This means that the Holy Ark took up space and did not take up space at the same time!!! So the Jewish people saw clearly how Hashem can unify space and above space.

The bottom line is that Hashem could only rest in a place which unified space and higher then space at the same time and this phenomenon happened in the Tabernacle and the Temple. This is the reason why Hashem said that he would rest only in the Tabernacle and in the Holy Temple.

We have now clearly answered the first question.

Now we can also understand why our prayers to Hashem everyday must be connected to the Beis Hamikdash, the “gate of Heaven” (Genesis, Chapter 28, Verse 17): When we pray we are trying to reach a level of Hashem which is higher then all limits. Now the only way we can do that is if we connect to something which is very specifically defined (because “the higher something is, the lower it goes”), therefore we must connect with the Beis Hamikdash (the Holy Temple).

We have now also clearly answered the second question.

5. The Rebbe now explains that according to all of the above we will understand something else:

We know that the Temple was on a higher level then the Tabernacle (Mishnayos Zevachim, Chapter 14).

According to our above explanation of how Hashem works we can understand why the Temple was higher then the Tabernacle: The Tabernacle moved from place to place whereas the Temple stayed planted in one place (the Temple Mount). In other words the Temple was even more limited then the Tabernacle because it was totally immobile. Therefore the highest level of Hashem’s true limitlessness came out in the Temple which was the most limited.

6. The Rebbe now tells us the lesson for us in our daily lives:

With regards to building the Tabernacle Hashem said “Make for me a dwelling place and I will dwell in them” (Chapter 25, Verse 8). Our Sages wonder why Hashem said “in them” in the plural form if He was only referring to the Tabernacle? Our Sages answer that “in them” means in every single Jew. If a Jew runs his/her life according to Hashem’s will, Hashem promises that He will dwell in him/her.

Translated and adapted by Shalom Goldberg. Taken from Likutei Sichos Chelek Gimmel, 1st Sicha.

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