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Making Room -- CHRONICLE Online/The WORD 03/14/24

Weekly On-line Rabbi's D'var-Torah


March 14, 2024

4 Adar II 5784

Parashat Pekude

I still remember my childhood bedroom. I had one wall completely covered with images that I had cut out from magazines. They were mostly my favorite players from my favorite teams. That wall made it my room as opposed to anybody else’s. It made my room special and memorable—for here I am all these years later and I can still picture it. This week’s Torah portion—the last one in the Book of Exodus—is all about creating special space. We read about the conclusion of the construction of the Tabernacle and Moses putting it into action. Our Haftarah (prophetic selection) from the first Book of Kings describes the transition from our ancestors’ first sacred space to its second—Solomon’s Temple. In order for the Temple to be an accepted successor to the Tabernacle, it had to remind people of the previous space. So, the Ark had to be transferred to the Temple. In addition to the Ark, there were many features of the Temple that were virtually identical to their counterparts in the Tabernacle—the table, the lampstand, the laver, and the tapestries. It made it easy for the people to make the transition from the Tabernacle to the Temple. Then, of course, the Temple was destroyed and most of the Jewish people were forced to leave the Land of Israel! It was much harder to create sacred space in the diaspora. But, our ancestors learned from the success of the Temple. They brought with them an ark, a table, a lamp, a laver, and the tapestry. It made their new places of assembly feel comfortable and sacred. And if you look around just about any synagogue today, you’ll see many of those same things (the images on the left are replicas of Temple furnishings; the images on the right are from our synagogue):          That is just one more way that our people have remained connected to the land of Israel over the last 2,000 years.


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