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Many Ways to Worship, All of Them Welcome

At Suburban Temple Kol-Ami, we understand that for some people, worship means coming to temple for Friday night services. We also understand that people’s busy lives and diverse Jewish traditions make other types of worship a better fit. That’s why at ST-KA you can join us on Friday night or stream services from your home. Attend a special service for families with young kids or discuss Torah at our innovative lifelong learning program.

TORAH TALK

Select Thoughts from Our Clergy

Terumah
Rabbi Allison Vann, 2/19/21 

Terumah On the face of it, Terumah could seem a boring Torah portion. With specific instructions and great detail, God instructs Moses to build a Sanctuary:

"Exactly as I show you—the pattern of the Tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings—so shall you make it. 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. Cast four gold rings for it, to be attached to its four feet, two rings on one of its side walls and two on the other.”

Why so much detail? What’s the point of the Ark?

These instructions were a complete role reversal. Up until now, God had done everything for the people. God had taken the people out to freedom. God had divided the sea and brought them across on dry land. God had given them food from heaven and water from a rock. And the people were struggling! They had spent so much of the journey complaining and questioning. A new direction was needed to create a relationship with God.

The Mishkan—the Tabernacle—is that new direction. It was was the first thing the Israelites made in the wilderness with their own hands. Instead of God doing things for them, they did this for themselves. This was not about God. God does not need a Sanctuary, a home on earth, for God is at home everywhere.

God understood the Israelites needed to be co-creators in their journey.  They needed to make something with their own hands. This why everyone had a part in the Tabernacle. Whether they contributed something to its’ making or were artisans themselves—the Tabernacle was their handiwork.

The title of this Torah portion, Terumah, is typically translated “gift” or “contribution”.  A rarely used word, it comes from the root for something that is lifted up. Whether creating or contributing, the Israelites lifted up their gifts, and in so doing, found themselves lifted up in deeper connection to God. They became God’s partners in the work of creation—quite literally—by creating the Tabernacle.

 

Eternal Responsibility. Beautiful Moment.

Rabbi Moishe Druin from Sofer on Site was at Suburban Temple-Kol Ami repairing all four of our Torahs. Click on the image to see a video from his visit:

Fri, April 23 2021 11 Iyar 5781