Thursday, February 11, 2016

Terumah "contribution"

Shemot 25:1-27:19

After Hashem’s great revelation in the last two torah portions before, we now see Hashem instructing the Israelites to Terumah the articles and also the instructions for the building of the tabernacle.  The contribution is to be done according to each individual’s heart willingness to give.  This request of giving with a prompting of one’s heart to the tabernacle is the first step in us wanting to be part of what Hashem will do here on this side of heaven. It has always been the condition of our heart that will either in able us to serve or reject Hashem.  For that reason I believe the center point of the tabernacle starts with the building of the Ark of the Covenant, which symbolizes our center piece or main part of our own being, the heart. The design of Hashem to start the building of the tabernacle from the inside out is the same pattern that we believers must have.
In Hebrew thought, the heart is the not regarded as the seat of the emotions. Instead it represents a person's thoughts, intellect and will. The Hebrew Bible uses the word heart the way we use the word mind in English.
The Torah says, "Every intent of the thoughts of [man's] heart was only evil continually" (Genesis 6:5) and "The intent of man's heart is evil from his youth" (Genesis 8:21). The prophet Jeremiah says, "The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?" (Jeremiah 17:9). If this is the state of the human mind, how can we ever hope to change? How can we have pure hearts? "Who can say, 'I have cleansed my heart, I am pure from my sin?"  (Proverbs 20:9).
The Good news of Hashem is that He will change our hearts from within, this is the promise of the New Covenant found in Jer 31:31 "But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days," declares the LORD, "I will put My Torah within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people."
Just like how we read in Exo 25:16 “And you shall put into the ark the testimony that I shall give you” would be the concept of the Torah being placed in our heart (inner being); reference to Eze 36:26 “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” This torah portion gives us the blue print on how the tabernacle was to be built in precise details, we’re not allowed to deviate from it; Exo 25:19. The reason for having a tabernacle (mishkan) for Hashem here on earth is for Him to dwell amongst us and to have His presence (shekhinah) manifested to us through the High Priest.  Just like the testimony of Hashem was to be placed inside the Ark, so must the testimony of Hashem be placed inside of our hearts. Following Hashem has always been and will always be a matter of the heart, because He has commanded us to love Him with all of our hearts, which is clearly seen throughout the Torah.

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