Weekly Sidra: Terumah (Gift)
Torah Portion: Shemot / Exodus 25:1-27:19
Haftorah: Melachim Alef / I Kings 5:26-6:13
11 Then the word of the Lord came to Solomon, 12 "With regard to this House you are building — if you follow My laws and observe My rules and faithfully keep My commandments, I will fulfill for you the promise that I gave to your father David: 13 I will abide among the children of Israel, and I will never forsake My people Israel." (Malachim Alef 6:11-13)
The last third of the book of Exodus (except for the golden calf) deals with the building of the Tent of Meeting. Why spend so much time to build it and what makes it so important?
Judaism teaches that Hashem is without form. Rambam’s third principle of faith holds that: I believe with perfect faith that G-d does not have a body. Physical concepts do not apply to Him. There is nothing whatsoever that resembles Him at all.
If God does not have a physical form, then why have a physical place for Him to dwell?
I believe that the existence of these dwellings such as the one in Exodus and the Haftarah portion mentioned above relate more to us than to Hashem. Solomon was advised that if they followed Hashem and kept the Torah that He would abide among Israel.
The temple was commanded by Hashem to Solomon. Thus, the primary function of the Temple was to remind us to keep his commandments (mitzvot). There are several mitzvot which are not in force today due to the destruction of the Temple.
The Temple also evokes the presence of Hashem. The Temple was the place where one could experience Hashem. In other words, one could have a revelation of being in the Divine Presence of God without seeing Him.
When we speak of The Temple, we speak of the place in Jerusalem that was the center of Jewish worship from the time of Solomon to its destruction by the Romans in 70 C.E. This was the one and only place where sacrifices and certain other religious rituals were performed. It was partially destroyed at the time of the Babylonian Exile and rebuilt. The rebuilt temple was known as the Second Temple. The famous "Wailing Wall" (known to Jews as the Western Wall or in Hebrew, the Kotel) is the remains of the western retaining wall of the hill that the Temple was built on. It is as close to the site of the original Sanctuary as Jews can go today.
Today, the site of The Temple is occupied by the Dome of the Rock (a Muslim shrine for pilgrims) and the Al-Aqsa Mosque (a Muslim house of prayer). The Dome of the Rock is the gold-domed building that figures prominently in most pictures of Jerusalem. May it be destroyed speedily in our days!! Many Jews believe that The Temple will be rebuilt when the Mashiach (Messiah) comes. They eagerly wait that day and pray for it continually. May we pray for the coming of Yeshua our Messiah and may he rebuild the Temple speedily in our days.
Tags: book of exodus, children of israel, divine presence, dwellings, golden calf, HaShem, jewish worship, Judaism, malachim, melachim, mitzvot, presence of god, principle of faith, rambam, romans, sidra, torah portion, word of the lord
More Related Articles: