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Take Me Along

Rabbi Moshe Lieber

Parshat Terumah

Feb 10, 2010

The Parashah begins with the mitzvah to donate to the cause of building a Mishkan. The passuk reads "וְיִקְחוּ לִי תְּרוּמָה" which means “Let them take for Me a portion”. The Midrash renders it as “let them take Me as a portion”. Unlike a normal acquisition in which the buyer buys the item but does not acquire the seller, when Hashem “sold” us the Torah we acquired Him along with it.

This, says the Midrash, may be compared to a princess who married a prince from a faraway land. After the young couple resided for a while with her father, the time came for the couple to return to the prince’s homeland. The bride’s father was heartbroken over the prospect of being separated from his most precious daughter. On the other hand, he realized that he could not insist that they remain. He therefore asked the newlyweds to build a small chamber for him wherever they live so that he would be able to stay with them.

The Torah is Hashem’s most precious “daughter” whom He gave to her groom, the people of Israel. When they were ready to leave Sinai, He couldn’t, as it were, bear the separation. He therefore asked them to build a Mishkan so that His Presence could come along with them. Thus when we acquired the Torah at Sinai we acquired Hashem along with it. We took Him as a portion. By building the Mishkan we were able to hold on to Him.

Often we sense a dichotomy in our spiritual affairs. When we are in shul or are busy davening, learning Torah or doing chessed we feel very connected to Hashem yet when we finish we almost feel like the tourist who went to the Kosel the night before his return to the States in order to “say goodbye to God”. The message of the Mishkan is that Hashem wants us to take Him along when we return to our mundane affairs. When in school, at work or involved in social or business affairs He needs to be a vibrant presence in our lives. He can’t bear the thought of separation from us.

R’ Elya Meir Bloch suggests that just as the nation at large needs a small house where our Father can reside with us, so every individual must create a little compartment in his or her heart and life where he can virtually sense the Presence of Hashem.

The way to make this happen is to set aside a special time daily, or at least weekly, (maybe on Shabbos) to ponder the all-pervasive greatness of Hashem and to make Him an integral and vibrant part of our lives.

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