(Numbers 25:1-27:20)

(Kings I  5:26-6:13)

1. Parshat Trumah tells us about the vessels and “furniture” of the Tabernacle in the wilderness. Next week’s parsha, Tetzaveh, speaks mainly about the clothing of the Kohen Gadol (the High Priest). Then, surprisingly, at the end of  Parshat Tetzaveh [30:1] , the golden altar—the incense altar—is spoken about. This should have been in Parshat Trumah. Why is the incense altar not mentioned with the other furniture and why is it brought after the Torah speaks about all the furniture and the clothing of the High Priest?

2. In the mishkan, there were things that appealed to all of our senses. The menorah: sight; the bread: taste; the incense: smell; the songs of the Levites: hearing; leaning on the sacrifice: touch. If the mishkan is supposed to be such a spiritual and elevating experience, why are the physical senses such a large part of that experience?

3. [25:4] “And blue and purple and scarlet…”  The Tabernacle in the desert had a wide variety of colours and materials. What is the reason for this variety, and how does the variety affect the people?

4. Our rabbis tell us that the mishkan is a model of man. The aron represents the, intellect and the faculty of speech; the menorah, represents the eyes and the sense of sight; the table that held the “bread,” corresponds to the sense of taste; the altar for the ketoret, is the sense of smell; and the outer altar represent the digestive system and other “functional” organs. Where are the emotions and intuitions represented?

5. [Haftara] The mishkan in the wilderness was built with voluntary contributions [Shmot 25:2]. The Temple in Jerusalem was built with a compulsory “mas” a tax—men were compelled to do the work. The Temple could also have been built through volunteers. What are the social advantages of voluntary contributions and what are the social advantages of a tax—compulsory contributions?

Commentary

[Haftara: 6:12] “As for this house which you are building, if you will walk in my laws…I will live among the Israelites, and not leave them”.

God said to Shlomo, the king, “Don’t think that this building with all its magnificence is what will bring my Presence to the people. Rather, it is proper behaviour and spirituality which bring my Presence. And through the spirituality, my Presence will remain even after the building is destroyed: “I will live among the Israelites, and not leave them”.

–Kochav M’Ya’akov, R. Yaakov Weidenfeld (1840-1894), Grimalov

This study page is dedicated to the memory of Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava–Eli Zucker

And to the memory of Sarah Bella bat Yitzchak Kummer, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer