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 Terumah: “…it’s not only that…”

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daniel eliezer

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Join date : 2011-12-01
Location : Beit El, Israel

PostSubject: Terumah: “…it’s not only that…”   Fri Jan 31, 2014 11:57 am

For those who have difficulty with the transliterated Hebrew and who don’t have access
to Jewish libraries, most transliterated Hebrew can probably be found through Google.
If the word is critical to what I’m saying, then it is explained.

*         *         *
None of us could have gotten this far (i.e. to these pages of JBC) without having some awareness that among Jews there is the feeling, “God created creation so that there will be a place for Jews.” In order to understand the incredible depth there is to this (which few Jews do), it’s necessary to both ask and answer the question, “Why did God create Jews?” The answer, of course, is that which every Ger and Giyoret knows, “God created Jews so that in creation there will be a place for God.”

Terumah: “…it’s not only that…”

“Who brings God home? Who can and who even tries?” But it’s not only that. “Who does God bring home?”

To our heart’s satiation and more, we can learn all the Torah and all the magnificent commentaries on the Torah, and those of us who have been blessed to even have tasted of this a little know how extraordinary a blessing it is. The intimate relationship with the Holy One that reveals itself in deep Torah study is a blessing beyond description. There are times, however, when with simply a handful of words we can be right there.

God refers to Abraham as, “אברהם אהבי” – “Avraham Ohavi” – Abraham My Beloved. [Isaiah 41:8], because the uniqueness of Abraham is he is the one who invited God into the world. Until Abraham, God was a ‘גר’ – a Ger – a stranger in this world, and Abraham’s ultimate greatness is that in his making ‘גרים’ – gerim – converts, he was introducing us to God all the while he was introducing God to us.

In this week’s Torah reading, ‘תרומה’ – ‘Terumah’ – ‘to lift up’ God repays Abraham. In instructing us to build the Mishkhan in the Midbar – the Tent of Meeting in the Desert, God is telling us, “Now it’s my turn to invite you to my home.”

All that we’ve said until here, when it’s pointed out, it’s self-obvious. In this being so, it’s not the brief teaching I spoke of, a teaching that relates to all that we’ve discussed, adding the question, “How?”, and answering it.

King David in Psalms says, “ואני תפילתי ה' עת רצון” - “I am praying to you God [at] a time of desire...” [Ps. 69:14] About this the Holy Mordecai Yosef from Ishbitz says something very sweet.

“There are times when each of us has this great desire when we really want to be with God…we really want to be close. When this happens,” says the Ishbitzer, “then we have to pray to God that our great desire will stay with us and that it won’t leave us, and we also want to keep on praying, to really keep on praying, so this desire will be part of us all the time.” Adds the Rebbe, “When King David felt how strong the urgings of Am Yisrael’s hearts were for the Holy Temple he prayed, ‘Guard this always and shape the thoughts of your people’s hearts that they should always, always be thinking of you.”

The Midrash says, “Every night…every night…every night when King David woke up at midnight this is what he said, “Master of the World, let me hear the prayers of all Israel,” and God took him up the highest place where he could hear the prayers. After he heard all our prayers King David then composed the Book of Psalms.” As everyone knows, the Book of Psalms is entirely song, and with every note of every word of every song King David is praying the sweetest and deepest and highest prayers…and giving us strength...strength to build Yerushalayim [how Jerusalem is pronounced in Hebrew – stay with it, this pronunciation is necessary] and the Holy Temple. As we all know, inside the deepest, deepest insides of ourselves it’s Yerushalayim, as we sing in Hallel, “בתוככי ירושלים" [inside the inside is Jerusalem - Ps. 116:19] and please God, please God, we’ve all been blessed to have tasted a little of Yerushalayim. But it’s even deeper than this.

Along comes the Holy Levi Yitzhak of Berditchev teaching, “Yerushalayim…Yerushalayim is Knesset Yisrael…Yerushalayim is the Holy Jewish People…” and now King David’s songs and prayers - which are really our songs and prayers - are even more sweeter and more deeper and more higher…because as they are connecting us to Yerushalayim while connecting Yerushalayim to us they’re really connecting us to each other – connecting Yur-Shalayim to My-Shalayim and My-Shalayim to Yur-Shalayim.

Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov (it’s the beginning of the month of Adar I)

Daniel Eliezer

*         *         *
What I write doesn’t invite comments within the topic, but I do want you to know
that all are welcome to write me should you have any questions or comments.
I can be reached at: d.e.ben.eitan@gmail.com.
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