This Week’s Torah Portion | February 7 – February 13, 2016 – 28 Shevat – 4 Adar I, 5776

Teruma (Donation) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

This Week’s Torah Portion | February 7 – February 13, 2016 – 28 Shevat – 4 Adar I, 5776

Torah Portion for February 7-13, 2016

As the almond tree blossoms while all others are sleeping, so am I alert and watching over my Word to perform it.

(Jeremiah 1:11-12; See Torah Portion below)

THIS WEEK’S TORAH PORTION:

From ancient times there has been a weekly portion (Parashah) from the first five books of Moses (The Torah) and an ending (Haftarah) from the Prophets read on the Sabbath in synagogues around the world. This portion is given a Hebrew name drawn from the opening words of the Torah passage. An illustration of this practice appears to have been recorded in Luke 4:16 where Yeshua (Jesus) arrived in the synagogue in Nazareth and was asked to read the portion (Isaiah 61) from the Prophets.

We have found that in perusing these weekly readings, not only are we provided opportunity to identify in the context of God’s Word with millions of Jewish people around the world, but very often the Holy Spirit will illumine specific passages pertinent that week in our intercession for the Land and people of Israel. The Haftarah, unless otherwise noted, will be that read in Ashkenazy synagogues around the world. The references for all texts are those found in English translations of the Scriptures.

The readings for this week February 7-13, 2016 are called T’rumah—(“Donation”)

TORAH: Exodus 25:1—27:19

HAFTARAH: I Kings 5:12—6:13

MISHKAN—“DWELLING PLACE”

The rest of the book of Exodus (except for the incident regarding the golden calf) will be related to the setting up of the “Tabernacle.” The Hebrew for this word is mishkan—which means “a dwelling place.” Its root shakhan is used in the modern Hebrew word for “neighbor”—someone who “dwells” nearby. (*) God longs to shokhen with, to dwell—to “neighbor” closely with His people. The word is used in Exodus 25:8 when He instructs that a “holy place” (sanctuary) be constructed so that He may dwell within Israel. This would be the tent-covered Tabernacle used in the wilderness and in the days of the Judges.

At the end of this week’s Haftarah (I Kings 6:13) Solomon, some 500 years later, has completed a Temple on Mount Moriah—and the same words are again repeated, “And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake My people Israel.” Around 440 years later still, a pre-incarnate Yeshua twice more released these words through the prophet Zechariah, “Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst. Many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and they shall become My people. And I will dwell in your midst. Then you will know that the LORD of Hosts has sent Me to you.” (Zechariah 2:10-11).

Yet, “the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands” (Acts 7:48), and today, through the work of the Messiah Yeshua, His Body on earth is “being built together for a dwelling place (Hebrew translation: mishkan) of God in the Spirit” (Ephesian 2:22). Finally, John tells us of a day when a Voice from heaven will proclaim, “Behold, the tabernacle (Hebrew translation: mishkan) of God is with the children of Adam, and He will dwell (shokhen) with them and they shall be His people. Elohim Himself will be with them and be their God” (Revelation 21:3-4).

(*) In English Bibles, a different Hebrew word succa, meaning “a temporary shelter,” is often also translated “tabernacle”—the Feast of Tabernacles in the fall uses the plural of this word Succot.

*Exodus 25:2. “Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering. From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering.”

*Exodus 25:10. “And they shall make an ark of acacia wood…”

The word “ark” is aron, a word used today for a cabinet, closet or wardrobe (Noah’s “ark” and that of the baby Moses is a different word teva, meaning ‘box’). This ark would later be called the “Ark of the Testimony, –of the Covenant”, –of God”, and “the Ark of YHVH (the LORD)”.

*Exodus 25:13-15. “You shall cast four rings of gold for it [the Ark of the Covenant], and put them in its four corners…and you shall make poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold. You shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark, that the ark may be carried by then. The poles shall be in the rings of the ark; they shall not be taken from it.”

It is remarkable the lengths this passage goes to to stress the importance of the poles and that they are to stay in the rings at all times! Yet by the time of David, even though he read the Torah continually and loved it, this would have faded to that of a minor, unimportant “detail” in his mind. Tragedy would occur when he allowed the Ark to be carried a different way (II Samuel 6:1-8). It is crucial to employ the whole counsel of God; there are no details of His instructions which are more important than others. “Thy Word O LORD is Truth!”

We would also stress here that ALL of the articles of the Tabernacle were essential in the completion of the perfection of the whole—whether the beautiful golden menorah, the cherubim, the intricately embroidered inner curtains, or the more homely boards for the sides, the skins over the top, the instruments of bronze such as the “pans to receive the ashes, the shovels and its basins and its forks and its firepans” (27:3). So with those human “vessels” making up the Body of Messiah on earth today…some may be in positions which appear more honorable than others, but before God, each part being in the place for which it have been specially fashioned by the Master Artisan in His preparing the Whole, that is the important thing.

*Exodus 25:17. “You shall make a mercy seat (Hebrew: kaporet) of pure gold.” Kaporet means both “atonement” and “covering.” Upon this the blood would be sprinkled on the Day of Atonement. It was above this that the Presence of the LORD would dwell between the Cherubim, Hence the (non-Biblical) word shekinah, related to shakhan above, refers to the manifest dwelling-presence of the LORD.

*Exodus 25:22. “You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the Testimony that I will give you. And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel.” “Meet with you” here means “at an appointed fixed time and place.” In God’s mercies, we now “have boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Yeshua, by a new and living way which he consecrated for us”—so as to meet with and be spoken with by our Father (Hebrews 10:19-20).

*Exodus 25:30. “And you shall set the showbread on the table before Me always.”

Showbread is literally “Bread of the Face” or “Bread of the Presence”. Leviticus 24:5-9 clarifies that it would consist of 12 loaves made from wheat flour, corresponding to the 12 tribes of Israel. Each Sabbath they were placed before God on the golden table, across from the menorah whose light shone upon it. Psalm 44:3 says that Israel’s victories did not come by her own prowess, but “It was Your right hand, Your arm and the Light of Your Face, for You loved them!”

*Exodus 25:33. “Three bowls [of the menorah] shall be made like almond blossoms on one branch…”

The Hebrew for “almond” or “almond blossoms” which were to decorate the Menorah is sha’ked. This is also the root for another similar-sounding Hebrew word sha’kad meaning “to watch, to wake, to be diligent.” This is the word used in Psalm 127:1, “Unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” Since the almond is the first tree to blossom in Israel, in mid-winter while other trees are still sleeping, it bears this same root and has become a symbol for wakefulness, and alertness. This is why both of these words are used in Jeremiah 1:11-12. The LORD asks Jeremiah what he sees, and he responds, “The branch of an almond (sha’ked) tree.” The LORD responds, “You have seen well, for I am watching over (sha’kad) my word to perform it.”

Even so, the menorah, which illumined the darkness when all else were sleeping was decorated with these flowers—among other things, a symbol of He who watches over Israel and neither slumbers nor sleeps—who also watches over His word regarding her to perform it. As we write, the hills around Jerusalem are still shining with these flowers.

PLEASE PRAY for the Body in Israel to be alert, and awake, diligently seeking the Light of the Spirit to illumine the Word which nourishes us with life and guidance during this hour!

*Exodus 25:40. “And see to it that you make them according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain.”

All of these things—the Ark; the rings of gold; the poles of acacia wood; the Mercy Seat; the Cherubim; the Table of Showbread; the golden Menorah— point to the work of Yeshua, our heavenly High Priest and mediator of a New Covenant, “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people…For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more” (Jeremiah 31:31; Hebrews 8:3-13).

The Torah and Haftarah portions for next week February 14-20, 2016 are called :

Tetzaveh–“Donations”:

TORAH: Exodus 27:20—30:10

HAFTARAH: Ezekiel 43:10-27

In A Nutshell

The portion, Teruma (Donation), deals primarily with the building of the tabernacle. The Creator instructs Moses to tell the children of Israel, “And they shall take for Me a donation from every man whose heart moves him you shall take My donation” (Exodus, 25:2). The donations were intended for the building of the tabernacle and its tools—the ark of the covenant, the ark-cover, the showbread table, the Menorah (lamp), the boards of the tabernacle, the sockets, the veil, the copper altar, and the hangings of the court. The Creator also tells Moses how to build the tabernacle. The portion is called Teruma (donation) because of the commandment to donate.

Commentary

All we have is the building of the tabernacle. This is where the Creator is revealed, and this is where He resides. We must build it through a donation, and by raising the importance of the quality of bestowal and love of others (in Hebrew, the word Teruma (donation) also pertains to Harama (raising), as in, “raising the Hey”)[1]. The more we extol the quality of bestowal and use it properly, the more we correct our Kelim (vessels), namely our desires, which we currently use for ourselves, as it is written, “I have created the evil inclination…”[2] The building of the tabernacle explains the process of our correction from the easiest to the hardest as we gradually build the tabernacle from our lightest, to our heaviest, greatest, and most egoistic desires. The donation to the tabernacle must come from the heart, which contains all the desires. Only one who is driven by impulse in the heart is permitted to offer a donation, and from this “investment” one builds one’s Kelim. The Kelim are the connections between us, which establish the tabernacle. In the tabernacle appears the upper force, the Creator, according to one’s equivalence of form. That is, we discover the Creator to the extent of our similarity to Him. The Creator is a hidden force. We are not inherently born with tools to discover Him because we do not possess qualities that are similar to His. For example, we hear sounds because our eardrums react to certain frequencies. Likewise, we can tell different smells because we have olfactory neurons that detect them. These are our Kelim (in Hebrew, Kelim means both “vessels” but also “tools”). However, we are devoid of tools to “detect” the upper force, the Creator, the source of energy.Yet, everything moves and exists by this force. Its source, however, is hidden from us, as is the direction of its movement, its “vector,” goal, and why it moves and operates everything. This knowledge is revealed in the tabernacle as we correct and construct ourselves according to the influence of the upper force, in equivalence of form with it. Equivalence of form means that if He is good and does it, if He loves the bad, as well as the good[3] , we must also achieve the state of “love your neighbor as yourself.”[4] We build the tabernacle according to the gradual correction of our desires from egoism to bestowal and love. The Torah and the Talmud teach us that the tabernacle with all its details symbolize the correction of the soul. It is not about the construction of a beautiful building in Jerusalem, nor is it about physical tools. Rather, it is about man’s heart, man’s internal correction. It is written, “I have created the evil inclination; I have created for it the Torah as a spice,”[5] because “the light in it reforms.”[6] This is why it is written that only a person with a good heart should donate, for by that, one truly wishes to correct one’s heart. The donation is a gradual removal of egoistic desires that can be corrected from a state of separation and hatred of others to bestowal and love of others. The portion seemingly relates primarily to people who wish to sanctify themselves, build themselves in such a way that that source of energy, that superior quality, appears in them so they may know where life and all our energy come from and why, and where they are headed. Because of the comprehensive crisis we are in, we need information about this process. Without it, we will not know what to do. Those who study the wisdom of Kabbalah discover how they should proceed in life. In the past, if we encountered problems we knew how to overcome them because the world had not yet become round, global. But today, as the world has become that, the general law is appearing, making it possible to understand it and to work with it unless we ourselves become round. Now we are required to come out of ourselves, of the personal and individualistic mindset, and begin to connect with others. According to the common force appearing between us, namely the Creator—who is appearing between us as the dweller of the tabernacle—we will discover how to resolve the comprehensive crisis. This is what makes this portion so pertinent. As soon as we begin to follow the requirement of the Torah to build a tabernacle from out hearts, even to the slightest bit, we will begin to understand what is required of us in order to restore balance. When we understand the law of balance, namely the general law of reality, we will know how to resolve the crisis. Today we are perplexed and bewildered over what we must do with ourselves in the future. This is why we are being shown escalating destruction that cannot be resolved, not even through war or other tragic events. Therefore, we need to promote circulation of the wisdom of Kabbalah to show the solution to everything. This is the reason why Kabbalah is appearing here and now, so we may use the tools given to us properly. All we need is to fix them a little, and to gradually understand the Creator, reveal Him, and advance toward correction of the crisis, toward a happy life. Questions and Answers It seems that the more we try to put order in the world, the more disorder we create. This is true only if we act on our reason. This is the situation today; everyone is trying to put things in order; no one wants disorder. True. Nature is drawn toward balance. We can see that if one place is hotter than another, after sometime the temperatures balance themselves out. Likewise, if there is high air pressure in one place and low air pressure in another, the wind equalizes the pressure. This is how the whole of nature operates. Nature’s movement always aims toward balance—from atoms through molecules, and to every part of nature. There are elements in nature where it seems as though there is no need to add energy. Electrons, for example, endlessly rotate in high speed. And yet, there must be energy propelling this constant movement. We have no idea where they receive the energy for it, but it is only because that energy lies beneath the threshold of our senses. Conversely, we know how many calories we must consume in order to function, or how much energy we have to spend in order to operate a machine. We test our energy sources, such as oil and gas, and build power plants and water drills using this energy. In truth, everything is in imbalance between those two levels, between the minus and the plus, and using the tension between them we build various things, such as batteries. Today we are witnessing a depletion of energy sources; we are running out of gas. We will receive the energy from the Creator. He is wearing us out on purpose so we may switch to energy on a higher level and learn how to use it properly. What, therefore, is the contemporary tabernacle? Is it the relationships between us that we must establish in this manner? Yes, we have no choice. If we establish proper connections between us—of love or at least of Arvut (mutual guarantee), namely become responsible for one another—and understand that we are parts of a single system, we will discover the power source and its program (software). Then we will learn what is right and how to use it properly. We are talking about an energy that induces equilibrium in movements between negative and positive. How is this energy, which we called the “tabernacle,” to make this equilibrium happen? We do not discover the energy in the tabernacle, but rather its source, the Creator. The energy, the force we receive from Him, is the power of bestowal. This the power that is missing in the world. There is plenty of matter in the world; all that is missing is the power to activate it, the power of bestowal. These days we are learning how incapable we are of working with the powers we do have. The problem is that we have no shortage of negative energy, but of positive one. When we connect “as one man with one heart” (RASHI, Exodus, 19b), according to Moses’ explanation concerning the building of the tabernacle, through that bonding we come to the place where the quality of the Creator appears, namely the upper force. This is the source of energy we call “light.” Indeed, even physics regards light as the “highest” form of energy. When we are in balance, we are certain to succeed. Moreover, success is not only in this transient life, but also in connection to the upper force, as we flow in the flow of eternal life in accord with it. Following the tabernacle, will we receive the right kind of energy? We will receive it in the tabernacle. The Creator is revealed in the tabernacle, which consists of only our corrected desires and the bonding with alien and different desires that were previously hateful and resentful toward each other. By leaping over them and uniting appears that upper force. From The Zohar: You Shall Make the Tabernacle with Ten Curtains The establishing of the tabernacle is from several degrees, for it is written about it, “And the tabernacle was one,” showing that all the organs of the body of the tabernacle are of a single body. It is like a person who has several high and low organs. The internal ones are inside, and the revealed ones are outside. However, all are considered one body, and it is considered one person in one bonding. So is the tabernacle: all the organs are such as above, and when they all unite as one, it is written, “And the tabernacle was one.”

Zohar for All, Teruma (donation), items 664-665

This is how we discover the single force called “the upper force,” which we must discover. Without discovering it we gradually lose vitality, as is evident in the tendency that we are witnessing today. How will the new order of feeling as one be revealed? Through the deficiency. First we must understand that we are incompetent, we cannot succeed. By searching for the element by which we can succeed, we will discover the futility of these efforts. This—coupled with the development and circulation of the wisdom of Kabbalah through mutual guarantee—is when people will understand that we have no alternatives but to gradually connect to that eternal, complete, omnipotent and omniscient power supply, which is not only a source of energy, but much more than that. By and large, when people give a Teruma (donation), they want to be honored, remembered, and then the donation acquires an additional value. Is this the right direction? It is not. Teruma relates to the connection of the hearts. If a person attempts to use the donation in order to gain respect, notoriety, or appreciation as a great person, even if no one else knows of this ambition, it is still an egoistic fulfillment since that person does not connect to others, but rather patronizes them. How can this change so that it truly becomes a donation for the Creator? Helplessness will make people feel differently. Disseminating the wisdom of Kabbalah adds great powers to this transformation. It may seem like we are not doing much, but these actions are inducing many revelations of the Creator in the world. For now that revelation is on a level where people are headed toward that direction—searching, feeling that the connection between them can save them. We are seeing the riots in the world from the positive side, as well as from the (ostensibly) negative one. Through them we will discover that our only hope is to connect, that only connection will provide us with the force of life. When that happens, what will the donation be? The donation is the connection. If we appreciate the power of bestowal it is called “donating.” On the one hand, we extol it; on the other hand, we feel how lowly and base we are. The world is round, integral. It can be saved only through unity, and we are aware that we are the opposite of unity. We know we need the upper force to influence and connect us so we are in accord with nature, with the global world. From The Zohar: And They Shall Take a Donation for Me How do we know that the Creator desires him and places His abode within him? When we see that man’s will is to chase and to exert after the Creator with his heart, soul, and will, we know for certain that Divinity is present there. Then we need to buy that man for the full cost, bond with him and learn from him. We learn about that, “And buy yourself a friend.”[7] He should be bought for the full price to be rewarded with the Divinity that is in him. This is how far we must chase a righteous man and buy him.

Zohar for All, Teruma (donation), items 39

People who do not understand the meaning of the term, “donation,” think it is about money. However, donation pertains to a Masach (screen), which one projects from oneself, sacrificing of oneself. It is written, “Buy yourself a friend.” That is, one annuls one’s own ego and connects to another, wanting to break down the partition between them. Our hearts inherently want to be individualistic, egoistic, removed from others. And yet, we must be the exact opposite. If we want to connect to someone, we must be lower than that someone. This is the meaning of connecting, namely the donation. It is not as we are used to think about it; it is one who is willing to donate oneself—the heart and all of one’s desires and capabilities. When we donate we become included in others and thus connect.

[1] Rabash, The Writings of Rabash, vol. 3, p 1806 [2] “I have created the evil inclination; I have created for it the Torah as a spice” (Babylonian Talmud, Masechet Kidushin, 30b). [3] Baal HaSulam, The Writings of Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to the Study of the Ten Sefirot,” item 90, p 789. [4] Jerusalem Talmud, Seder Nashim, Masechet Nedarim, Chapter 9, p 30b. [5] Babylonian Talmud, Masechet Kidushin, 30b. [6] Midrash Rabah, Eicha, “Introduction,” Paragraph 2. [7] Mishnah, Masechet Avot, Chapter 1, item 6.