Torah Portion: T’rumah(Offering) Exodus(Sh’mot) 25:1-27:19
Haftorah Reading: I Kings 5:26-6:13
This week we read the Torah section covering the accumulation of items to be used in the building of the Mishkan or Tabernacle. I would like to start with the Hebrew meaning of two words we will see in this Torah portion. I believe this will give us a more complete understanding of what is being said to us.
First, let’s answer the question of where did Moshe first see the items that would later become part of the Tabernacle? In Exodus/Sh’mot 25:40 we read where G-d Himself showed Moshe all these things while he was on the mountain receiving the Ten Commandments. This Mishkan was something that held a deep meaning for Israel and for us. For us it was a shadow of things to come when we too would be the temple of G-d. Our understanding of it helps us more fully understand the Word and plan of G-d in our life.
Now let us look at the word that is the title of this portion. T’rumah is a Hebrew word meaning offering. It also means to lift up. So, in this word G-d is relating His plan for this portable structure to be built from the offerings of the people. Each Israelite would know they had participated in its construction and furnishings. It was their offerings that were used for its furnishings. Remember these are people who had been slaves for 400 years, owning nothing of their own. In fact, they were owned by Pharaoh. Here G-d is telling them that they are now free, free to contribute with a willing heart toward what would be their place to go, to bring offerings to meet G-d, to celebrate His appointed times. What a revolutionary idea.
As I said earlier, the word T’rumah also has at its root the meaning to lift up. This offering they would bring would be lifted up to the L-rd. We see this same idea expressed in II Cor. 9:7. Shaul said each of us are to give as we are led, not because we must but because we are moved with love for the Father for what He has done for us.
These former slaves were filled with the desire to give to Him who had saved them from slavery to Pharaoh, because He loved them. This should remind all of us of what G-d has done for us in our own life. I think Shaul was making that same point to the believers in Corinth.
My next word I want us to look at is found in Sh’mot/Exodus 25:8-9. Let me translate this as I think it should be or as Moshe meant for it to be worded. “Make me a temple and I will dwell inside of them.” The important word that is often translated as among is more correctly translated as in. Again, we see Shaul use these exact words in II Cor. 6:16 where he wrote, “For you are the Temple of the Living G-d, as G-d has said I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their G-d and they will be My people.” If we look at Va’Ikrah/Leviticus 26:12 and Ezekiel 37:27 we read these same words. So, what does this say to us? If we truly see ourselves as the Temple of G-d and Him dwelling in us, what effect should that have on our daily lives?
In this portion we read where G-d had appointed times when the people were expected to meet Him, to fellowship with G-d Almighty. This meant the Israelites were expected to show up at these times that G-d set aside in His calendar. If our lives are lived expecting to meet Him, if our lives are lived looking forward to meeting Him, I think we will find we will meet Him even at those unexpected times when maybe we need a word or direction from Him.
When we read D’Varim/Deut. 6:67 we see G-d is supposed to fill our day so that even in those times when we are just going about our lives we find He has become our life. When we practice the presence of G-d, He shows up. He is in us – His temple.
So, to end our study, let me challenge each of us to meditate on what it means to be the temple of G-d, meeting Him in everything we do.