These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

תרומה, teruma

Posted on February 2, 2011 by Avi Strausberg

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while moshe is up on the mountain, God instructs him in great detail, down to every last loop and fold in the fabric, on how to build the משכן, the tabernacle, which is to be His dwelling place amongst the israelities.  however, the building process, is not the typical “build a new home from scratch” procedure.  normally, there are months of planning with the architect, the foreman, and the new home owner, all coming together both to understand the vision and to make concrete the practicalities of how to enact the construction.  finally, building underway, all can continue to consult with each other and troubleshoot together should the need arise.

however, here, out of necessity of the Architect/Owner living amongst the clouds, the building must happen in two totally distinct stages.  first, moshe goes to weeks of planning meetings with God where he’s shown all the patterns and designs on the mountain.  second, moshe comes down and must direct the people to recreate this vision that he was shown, presumably from his own memory.  after a detailed description of how to build the Tabernacle, it is written, “והקמותי את –המשכן כמשפטו אשר הראית בהר:  Then, set up the Tabernacle according to the manner of it that you were shown on the mountain” (jps translation, shmot 26: 30).   every time i read about the minutia of the construction, i feel overwhelmed and lost in the details.  however, if i was moshe, and i was responsible for building the portable house of God that would allow him accompany His peope on a very scary journey, i’d want the specifications down to every last detail as well.

they sit with their tea
fabric patterns fill each crag
“that’s a nice one, there”

but, when you go down,
you’ll have nothing but my voice,
remember our plan.

may we remember the guidance of others even when we finds ourselves alone,