Searching for meaning and building the intangible : Parashat Truma
“Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them”. (Exodus, 25, 8).
Last week I visited Cambodia, I was in Siem reap visiting the temple Angkor Wat, and I couldn’t stop repeating to myself that Pasuk. I was amazed by the incredible construction, each shaped stone reminded me the powerfulness of the historical men’s search of meaning.
The main subject in Parashat Truma is God’s command to Moses to build the Tabernacle. At first, God commands Moses to collect from the people of Israel Trumot – donations – for building the Tabernacle. Later, very precise orders emerge, detailing specifically how to build the Tabernacle and its tools: Ark of the Covenant, frost, showbread table, lamp, Tabernacle sheets, boards of the tabernacle, windowsills, the curtain, the copper altar and the braided threads of the courtyard; for each of these tools the exact materials and dimensions are given.
On the side of what means to be just a physical construction – “Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them” (Exodus, 25, 8) – stands the greatest gift given to us as a People by God – the Shabbat. But what is the connection between the Shabbat and the idea of a Tabernable or a sanctuary?
Abraham Joshua Heschel, a modern Jewish philosopher, explains in his book “The Sabbath”, about the component of TIME in the creation:
“Judaism is the religion of time, aspiring to sanctify it – sanctify time. In contrary to the man, who is ruled by the search for materialism, for whom time is homogeneous and meaningless, all his hours are identical and void of content and quality.
The Torah teaches us about the uniqueness that time can create.
Judaism teaches us to stay “addicted” to the sanctity of time. Saturdays are our great cathedrals, our Holy of Holies, a sanctuary neither the Romans nor the Germans managed to ruin. The meaning of Saturday is the sanctity of time versus the involvement with materialism.
During the 6 days of the week we live ruled by materialism. On Saturday we direct ourselves and enter the sanctity of time. During 6 days the man tries to take over the world. On the seventh day he tries to take over his own identity…
Shabbat is the day when we are called to take part in the eternity of time.
We are invited to take the different path, to move from the results of creation and turn to the secret of creation. Move from the world created to creating the world.”
Heschel compares the Shabbat to a palace, a sanctuary in time. And he explains that the only way to enter the palace is by changing the spiritual climate.
We started by dealing with Parashat Truma and the exact instructions required to comply with in order to build the Tabernacle / Sanctuary. Preciseness in materials, preciseness in dimensions.
I wish to turn our attention to the question: what is the preciseness in the spiritual climate that we should achieve in order to create for each one of us and for our community a palace, a Tabernacle, in which we can also include what is sublime for us? How do we create a sacred space with the capability to hold meaning?
Let’s get away from the Self-righteousness, ambition, bitterness, pointless quarrels. Let’s leave the wars of honor that engage us on a daily basis, get away from the evil-tongue and leave anger behind. Let’s get closer to the love of man, understanding, forgiving, blessing, Tzedakah, donation, Saturday’s good food, good smells, family, smiles, laughter, hugs.
I would like to invite you today, on Shabbat of Parashat Truma, to reconsider and visualize the palace in time…
Let’s close our eyes for a minute and say good-bye to internal things that do not belong in the world of sanctity and are not worthy of entering the sanctuary with us.
Let’s take a minute to go over the things that must accompany us while we are in the sanctuary, the precise, correct components. Those that will allow God to reside within us.
A moment of silence, a deep breath with closed eyes. Let’s let the light of our Shabbat candles lead us to the depth of our search of meaning.