Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Terumah


Terumah, in this weeks parasha are the detailed instructions on the building of the tabernacle and the utensils of worship to YHVH.  The detail is sometimes lost in the progress of time and the ever-changing culture that is systemic of all peoples groups in this planet of ours.  The chosen people are not different, albeit they seem to be able to cope somewhat better than most other peoples groups.  Terumah pertains to offering and gifting towards YHVH.  Many use these passages to preach about tithing and giving and the point is missed altogether on the real value of Terumah.  It talks about an offering, but really what is an offering to YHVH, but that emanating of the heart willingly without resentment nor grudgingly, a lifestyle.  Understanding this principle of what offering is all about determines the value of the gift or offering to YHVH.  What is most troubling is that in one hand the word is taught that the Torah was done away at Yeshua’s sacrifice, and on the other passages from the Torah is used to teach about giving tithing etc.  This two double minded approach shows a lack of understanding of the Torah and its principles and what is the purpose of Torah.  Above all things Torah does not equal law, it never has and it never will, furthermore Torah is a set of instructions that allows us to understand the character of HaShem, and whom He really is.  In order to really understand Torah one has to learn the teaching and guidance within contexts, the reason that context is in the plural is due to the fact that one must look at the Torah both in the cultural context as well ands the idiomatic context, failure to do so renders a false message that is taken and twisted to satisfy personal goals.

Additionally one must look at Torah and see what it is trying to convey to us the reader and participant of the Torah, across time and cultural diversity.  In light of these remarks one must be able to question what is the purpose of so much detail in these passages of the Torah, why is it so important to be so meticulous in recording the instructions on how the tabernacle and the Holy Ark should be erected.  Is there something that we can learn from such detail that may be missed if not looked upon the context presented?  In hindsight we know that the construction of the tabernacle and the Holy Ark was done as per the instructions Moshe received from YHVH, and that this is what he envisaged we should experience every time we came to His presence.  It is possible to see that the picture of the tabernacle can point us towards something that we encounter in our daily lives.

Classic example may be that the tabernacle is a shadow of the Torah, with the teachings and guidance being the post and skins that form the perimeter of the tabernacle.  The nine posts in the front entrance and back being the mitzvoth that which we enter into holiness.  Unfortunately Mitzvoth is some times mistranslated as religious duty or good deed, however a more accurate translation would be a partnership with YHVH where He instruct us and we follow in deed and action.  The ten words given by YHVH can be separated as follow, the first of the words is an introduction, with the reminder nine, being separated into relationship between man and YHVH, Man and his kinsfolks or family and man and man.  This can be further arranged in actions  pertaining to each of the above, thought speech and action.

Relations between:
Man & God

Human & Family

Human & Human

Thought Second Command:
"Thou shalt have no other God"--fear of God
Fifth Command:
"Honor thy father and thy mother."
Tenth Command:
"Thou shalt not covet."
Speech
Third Command:
"Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord in vain."
Sixth Command:
"Thou shalt not murder," especially one's family.
Ninth Command:
"Thou shalt not bear false witness."
Action Fourth Command:
"Remember the Sabbath Day."

Seventh Command:
"Thou shalt not commit adultery."

Eighth Command:
"Thou shalt not steal."

http://www.myjewishlearning.com/holidays/Jewish_Holidays/Shavuot/In_the_Community/Torah_Reading_and_Haftarah/The_Ten_Commandments.shtml

So what does this has to do with Terumah and the tabernacle and the detailed instructions? Everything really, if we understand our relationship with YHVH and with our keen and fellow man we see that as we enter the tabernacle we need to enter via the nine pillars, that can in a way be interpreted as the nine words that relate to YHVH, kinsfolks and fellow man.

The front and back are protected by the nine words with the other sides being other teachings and guidance’s, which can be separated into multiples teachings that are part of a Torah lifestyle.  There are no shortages of teachings from these instructions, and the detail is to remind us that what e do in the physical has bearing in the spiritual, and that is a point that we often fail to see in our western mind set and when we also allow our busy worldly lifestyle to influence the way we think.  We forget that although we no longer have a physical tabernacle that we enter with our physical senses, we do however have a spiritual one that is ever-present with the indwelling of the Ruach Hakodesh. 

What we do in our daily lives matters more than what we care to realize, as we come in prayer and in meditation before HaShem we find ourselves coming into the tabernacle and the very presence of Yeshua and HaShem through the Ruach.  We enter into a holy tabernacle where the very spirit of our Messiah dwells, just as we would have done if the physical tabernacle were in our mist.  To this end, we have the Torah, containing the very words that HaShem spoke that act as our guide in our daily living, as well as the Ruach within us, to also admonish, guide us, rebuke us, uplift us and strengthen us as required.  Although having a physical object is good to remind us, what we have now is far more beneficial to us provided we are willing to participate and allow the Ruach Hakodesh to work in our lives.

Finally the best Terumah we can give YHVH, is Shema, listening and doing, as it is written in I Samuel 15:22: And Samuel said, Has יהוה as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of יהוה? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.  I Samuel 15:23: For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of יהוה, he hath also rejected thee from being king.  As Saul was rejected, so can we, if are not found to be honoring the character of YHVH, so to reiterate what we do maters, right now here on earth and in the time to come, the detail is as important then as it is now.

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