Parsha Terumah

Donations

The Torah offers two models of contributions to the community. The word Terumah is a general word, like charity. It has several usages, for Priestly privileges and for mundane donations. Here it means the voluntary contribution that people would make towards the construction of the Tabernacle. People gave, whatever they could and of things that they possessed, such as gold,…

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Parsha Terumah

The Shekel

The word Shekel literally means something that is weighed and its use pre-dates the Torah. Early coins were simply weights and measures and used initially in barter. But as we know from Shakespeare‚Äôs Merchant of Venice the word shekel became one of abuse. As if only Jews used coins and money. The first bankers were the Assyrians and Babylonians over…

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Parsha Terumah

Constructing a Tabernacle

Terumah starts a series of chapters that describe the construction of the Tabernacle in great detail. We know that both in Egypt and Mesopotamia temples and palaces were the core of any city and society. It was a matter of national pride to describe them in intricate detail. The more intricate the more authority and power they projected. These structures…

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Parsha Terumah

Cherubs

What are we to make of the two golden Cherubs the Torah commanded Moshe to have made to be placed on top of the Ark? The Torah says they faced each other from the edges of the Ark and their wings spread over the cover of the Ark. covered the Ark. Anyone familiar with archaeology will know that throughout the…

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Parsha Terumah

Community

Terumah establishes two principles that are more than just legal. The first is the obligation to give to the community. Elsewhere the Torah lays out our obligations to the poor. But communities need support and whereas much of individual obligations to others is left relatively open, when it comes to supporting the community, as here, it is defined. Not only…

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