Rabbi Eisen’s Shabbat Shalom Message

Shabbat Shalom!


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Torah and Haftarah portions.


Candlelighting for
Friday, February 12, 2016 • 5:49pm

• Our Portion for the Week

TERUMAH – EXODUS 25:1 – 27:19
In this portion we find a description of the Mishkan, the portable sanctuary which was built in the wilderness to house the ark with the tablets of the Ten Commandments. The purpose of the Mishkan was to serve as a sign that God dwelt among His people. Moses is directed to gather from the Israelites a free will offering of all manner of precious metals, jewels, fine wood, fine materials and spices to use in constructing the Mishkan and its appurtenances. Specific instructions are then given for building the furnishings of the Mishkan and the special tent that house them. The Mishkan as a whole was meant to be a symbol, a portable Sinai, reminding the Israelites on their journey through the wilderness of their unique experience at the mountain. The Mishkan evolved, by way of the Temple in Jerusalem, into the synagogue, but the purpose remained the same. To this day, whenever we open the ark and look upon the Torah scrolls, we stand again at Sinai.

• Our Question for the Week •

They shall make an ark of acacia wood, two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high. Overlay it with pure gold – overlay it inside and out – and make upon it a gold molding round about.
(Exodus 25:10-11)

Why gold?! What is the symbolic significance of the composition of the Ark and its purity? Great thoughts? Joy? Hope? The strength that stands for Eternity?

Why was it so important that its inside and outside be the same? What is the lesson we might apply in our own lives?

Is it crucial that our "insides" and "outsides" coincide? Or should we strive for a "gold standard" of, e.g., kindness, generosity, supportiveness, deference, and attention … even when – on the inside – we are less than genuinely eager, engaged, and motivated? Must we truly be "pure gold" … or is it sufficient at times discreetly and artfully to compensate for our "acacia wood core"?! What measures are we to take in order to accommodate the human limitations of others, especially those we love?