At the beginning of my relationship with my husband, I was not always gracious in receiving his gifts because I felt they did not reflect who I am and pointed to his not truly knowing me. In hindsight, I see
T’rumah opens with a call for the Israelites to bring to God what the standard English translation calls “gifts”: "The Eternal spoke to Moses, saying: Tell the Israelite people to bring Me gifts; you shall accept gifts for Me from every person whose heart is so moved" (Ex. 25:1-2). After enumerating the precious metals, stones, and materials that would constitute such gifts, we learn the purpose: "And let them make Me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them" (Ex. 25:8).
Parashat T’rumah provides precise instructions on how to build the Mishkan and its contents. But those guidelines, like the design for the Temple menorah, have been interpreted in various ways throughout the ages. What does this teach us about the nature of communication?
As the Torah continues the Israelites’ dramatic, people-building saga, Parashat T’rumah approaches the story from a new angle. Instead of developing the literary adventures of a no-longer-nascent people or focusing on the striking events at Mt. Sinai, this week’s Torah portion is about the details. And these details are not the specifics of community-building or daily life. Rather, they concern, in painstaking minutiae, the construction of the Tabernacle. This is a parashah about holiness, and in the case of Parashat T’rumah, the holiness is in the details.