2/11/2016

Shabbat Terumah

Candles Friday 12th 5:06pm
Havdalah 13th at 6:03pm

Kiddush sponsored this Shabbat by Mrs Parvin Benarosh
for her late father Eshagh Ben Mokhtar Hakim ע״ה

The Torah now starts a series of chapters that describe the construction of the Tabernacle in great detail. Of course we know that both in Egypt and Mesopotamia temples and palaces were the core of any city and society. It was a matter of national pride to describe them in intricate detail. The more intricate the more authority and power they projected. These structures had to be finer and richer than any other.

This reminds us the the Torah is not just a document with a legal, spiritual and tribal message. It is a composition of culture in the widest sense. Every aspect of an early society, its constitution and its values is documented and earlier traditions are incorporated into new ones.

The earlier laws and traditions have been describing the behavioral requirements and civil laws. How individuals relate to each other. In this context the home, the family is the core unit. Now we turn to the public arena, the need for a focal point , where the community gets together for worship, information and for justice and redress.

Which aspect of life is more important? This is a debate the later commentators were preoccupied with. Did the public come before or after the private? Was the Tabernacle a response to the moral collapse of the Golden Calf and developed after the Sinai Revelation because clearly one needed something more to give the community a sense of togetherness? Was it an after though? Or was it designed before Sinai as an integral part of the revelation? Is private more important for national survival or private? What we can see is how important the public was then and still is.

This dichotomy remains today as one of the core issues of identity. Individuality or communality? Actually we need them both.