Hebrew Roots/Torah observance/Terumah

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At Mount Sinai, the people of Israel experienced an all-consuming, if brief, revelation of God. Now, they are instructed to build a mishkan or “dwelling” (also called a mikdash, “Sanctuary,” and commonly referred to as “the Tabernacle”) in which God will “dwell amidst them” as a perpetual presence in the Israelite camp. Terumah is the account of the revelation from God to Moshe concerning the building of the Mishkan (the Tabernacle). Since its completion, the Mishkan had been on the move. The people are told to make an “uplifting” (terumah) to God consisting of:Gold, silver, and copper; Blue, purple, and scarlet [-dyed wool], fine linen, and goat [hair]; Rams’ skins dyed red, tachash skins, and shittim wood; Oil for the light; spices for the anointing oil and for the sweet incense. Shoham stones, and gemstones for setting in the efod and in the breastplate.

Terumah means gift or offering. In Hebrew, literally, something that is uplifted or elevated (to a higher status). Strongs 8461 something offered up, an oblation or a tribute; a sacrifice When we make an offering to Yahweh it becomes elevated to a different status. It is taken from secular, ordinary use and it becomes consecrated, set apart and holy unto Him.

A Terumah is something of value to the giver. 2 Samuel 25:24 "… neither will I offer burnt offerings unto Yahweh my God of that which cost me nothing.…". He expects us to give the very best we have to Him. "All the best of the oil, and all the best of the wine, and of the wheat, the firstfruits of them which they shall offer unto Yahweh," Leviticus 18:12,13

The word "best" is translated from the Hebrew word cheylev; from an unused root meaning to be fat, whether literally or figuratively; hence the richest or choice part. This word is used throughout the Bible in relation to offerings and sacrifices.

Yahweh called for the people to offer out of their free will the things necessary to provide a Dwelling place for Him to be in their midst, "from everyone who gives it willingly with his heart". (25: 2) The Hebrew actually reads " from everyone whose heart impels him to give."

Of these fifteen materials, “they shall make for Me a sanctuary, and I shall dwell amidst them" The remainder of the Parshah of Terumah consists of God’s detailed instructions to Moshe on how to construct and assemble the various components of the Mishkan. “According to all that I show you, the form of the tabernacle, and the form of all its vessels--so shall you make it." It was important that everything be made according to the pattern. First Moshe details the vessels in the Mishkan.

Yahweh called for the people to offer out of their free will the things necessary to provide a Dwelling place for Him to be in their midst, "from everyone who gives it willingly with his heart". (25: 2) The Hebrew actually reads " from everyone whose heart impels him to give."


The Ark - The Ark is to be constructed in the form of an open-topped box, 2.5 cubits (approximately 45 inches) long, 1.5 cubits wide, and 1.5 cubits high. It should be made of shittim wood covered within and without with pure gold, with a gold “crown” around its rim. The function of the ark is to house the two Tablets of Testimony, engraved with the Ten Commandments, “which I shall give to you." Two poles, also of gold-covered shittim wood, are to be inserted into four gold rings affixed to the four corners of the ark, with which the ark is to be carried from place to place by the Levites. The poles shall be in the rings of the Ark; they shall not be removed. A Kaporet (“cover”)-- also 2.5 by 1.5 cubits--should be made for the Ark.

Coming out of Mitzrayim where Pharaoh and his princes were carried in palanquins, Yisrael would have recognized this method of transportation as paying the ultimate homage to that which was being carried. In this case it was the Word of God, which was inside the Ark. It was an ancient custom for kings and princes to be carried in a palanquin. A palanquin is a wooden carriage often overlaid with gold and precious stones. It was carried on poles, in most cases by slaves, and was the ceremonial way of transporting kings and princes in the ancient Near East. King Solomon had one specially built for himself (Song of Songs 3:9) The Priests) and Levites, who carried it were the only tribe without an inheritance; God Himself was their inheritance, they belonged to Him. As the king owned the slaves who carried him, so the Levites were Yahweh’s personal possession.

Yeshua is the living Word, He is the Word made flesh (the Memra in the Aramaic Targumim). Those who lift Him up are called to bear a heavy burden, one they are called to do willingly. As priests of Yahweh, as a holy nation, bearing the burden of the Word is a joy and not an obligation. The Word of God requires sacrifices, it requires compromising your life in self denial. (Matthew16:24) “And you shall make two cherubim of gold... at the two ends of the cover. And the cherubim shall stretch out their wings on high, overspreading the cover with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another.” The Kaporet with its two cherubim should be hammered out of a single block of pure gold. “And there I will commune with you,” says Yahweh to Moshe; I will speak with you from above the Kaporet, from between the two cherubim which are upon the Ark of the Testimony, of all things which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel." Make for it a rim of gold round about (25:24) There were three crowns on the internal furniture : that of the Altar, that of the Ark, and that of the Table. The one of the Altar (representing the priesthood), Aaron deserved and he received it. The one of the Table (representing the wealth of royalty), David deserved and received. The one of the Ark (representing the Torah) is still available, for whoever wants to take it. (Talmud, Yoma 72b)


The Table and the Menorah - “Make a table of shittim wood; two cubits shall be its length, and a cubit its breadth, and a cubit and a half its height.” Like the Ark, the Table is to be overlaid with gold, given a gold crown along its rim, and have four gold rings affixed to its corners for its two carrying poles. The function of the Table is to hold the lechem hapanim (“showbread”), which were arranged on it in two tiers of six loaves each. The Table’s accessories should include pans (for holding the specially shaped breads), vertical side-frames and horizontal supports on which these were arranged, and two small bowls for the levonah (incense) placed on the tabletop between the two tiers of showbread---all made of pure gold. “And you shall make a Menorah of pure gold. Of beaten work shall the Menorah be made---its shaft, its branches, its goblets, its bulbs, and its flowers, shall be [hammered] of the same [piece of gold]. Six branches shall extend from its sides; three branches of the Menorah out of the one side, and three branches of the Menorah out of the other side (25:32)"

Rashi, following the basic meaning of the text, states that the branches of the Menorah extended upward from its main stem in straight, diagonal lines--not curved, as commonly depicted. This reading of the text is supported by an illustration in Maimonides’ own hand, which likewise shows straight, diagonal branches.

Maimonides’ son, Abraham, writes: “The six branches... extended in straight lines from the Menorah stem to the top, as my father drew them--not curved, as others have drawn.”) Together with the center shaft, this made seven branches, which are to be topped by seven lamps; “and they shall light its lamps, that they may give light over its face." “And look that you make [the Menorah and its parts] after their pattern, which is shown you on the mountain”


The Roof Coverings - After describing the three major “vessels” of the Tabernacle---the Ark, the Table, and the Menorah---God proceeds to detail the making of its roof coverings. Three layers of coverings are to be draped over the walls of the Tabernacle, to form its roof and almost completely cover its sides. (The construction of the walls themselves are detailed in the next chapter). The first covering (which the verse calls, like the edifice itself, “the Mishkan”) should consist of ten tapestries, made of “fine-twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet wool,” with “cherubim of artistic work” woven into the fabric.

The tapestries over the Tabernacle - The ten tapestries should each measure 28 x 4 cubits, and should be sewn together to make two large sheets of five tapestries each (making each “grouping” of five tapestries 28 x 20 cubits in size). The two “groupings” are then to be joined together by means of 50 gold clasps inserted into loops of blue-dyed wool sewn along the edges of the outermost tapestry in each “groupings.” Thus joined, the ten tapestries will form a sheet 40 cubits by 28 cubits (approximately 60 x 42 feet). “Artistic work” means that the images were not embroidered, but of the weave itself, and done in such a way that one figure showed on one side and a different figure on the other. “Embroidered work” were images made with needlework, and which were the same on both sides. Rashi And you shall join the tapestries with the clasps, that the Mishkan may be one (26:6) As seen from the inside of the Sanctuary, the golden clasps imbedded in the tapestries were like stars glittering in the heavens.(Beraitat Melechet HaMishkan) [Since the walls of the Tabernacle formed a structure 31 cubits long, 12 cubits wide, and ten cubits high, the first covering almost completely enveloped this structure, hanging down 8 cubits on each side and 9 cubits in the back. (The front end of the tabernacle was covered by the separate “screen” described later.)]

The second covering (called ohel, or “tent”) should be made of goat hair. It should be larger than the first, consisting of 11 strips, each 30 cubits by 4 cubits, joined into two “groupings"---one of five strips sewn together, and a second of six. These, in turn, should be joined together with 50 copper clasps. (Altogether, the second covering will thus have an area of 44 cubits by 30 cubits.) When draped over the first covering, the second covering will hang down 9 cubits on either side of the Tabernacle--one cubit more than the first covering--leaving only the silver foundation sockets of the Tabernacle exposed (see below). It should be made to overlap slightly in the front and completely cover the back wall, even “trailing behind the back of the Tabernacle.” These two covering are to be topped by a “roof” of red-dyed ram skins and tachash skins.


The Walls - And you shall make boards for the Tabernacle of shittim wood standing upright. (26:15) A defining feature of the Tabernacle is its portability: the “vessels” are equipped with “carrying poles”; the roof coverings are of cloth and animal skins. The walls of the Mishkan were likewise made to be dismantled, transported and reassembled numerous times, as the people of Israel set up camp in various locations in the course of their journey through the desert. According to the Talmud, the shittah was a type of cedar; in Rabbi Saadiah Gaon’s (Arabic) translation of the Torah it is rendered shant, or “acacia."

The Mishkan--God instructs Moshe--should have three walls, fitted together out of 48 “boards” (kerashim): 20 boards to form the right (south) wall, 20 boards to form the left (north) wall, and 8 boards to make the back wall to the west. The boards should be covered with gold. Each board should be 10 cubits long, 1.5 cubits wide, and 1 cubit thick. The boards should be stood upright, their 10 cubit length forming the 10 cubit height of the Mishkan. The 48 boards should be inserted into 96 cubit-high silver “foundation sockets” (adanim)---two sockets to a board. The bottom cubit of each board should be whittled to form two “pegs” for insertion into the foundation sockets. The boards should be joined to each other by means of gold “rings” or brackets inserted into slits made in their top. Each wall should also be reinforced with four “cross bars” (two on top, and two on bottom) inserted into rings affixed to the boards’ exterior. An additional “center bar” should run “through the middle of the boards, from one end to the other.”


Two Chambers - These stood upright and were joined side by side, the 48 boards of the Tabernacle will form a U-shaped enclosure whose inside area is 30 cubits by 10 cubits. This area should be divided into two chambers: a 20 x 10 outer chamber to the east; and an 10 x 10 inner chamber (the “Holy of Holies”) to the west.

To separate the two chambers, a Parochet (“veil” or “partition”) should be made of “blue, purple and scarlet wool, and fine-twined linen; with cherubim of artistic work” woven into the fabric. Four pillars of gold-covered shittim wood, inserted into for silver foundation sockets, should hold up the Parochet. (Thus the Mishkan had a total of 100 silver foundation sockets.) The Parochet should be hung exactly 20 cubits from the eastern end of the Mishkan, which will place it directly under the golden clasps which joined the two “groupings” of tapestries in the first roof-covering (as per above).

The Ark containing the Tablets of Testimony should be placed in the “Holy of Holies” behind the Parochet. In the outer chamber, the Menorah should be placed to the right (south) of the room, and the Table to the left (north).

The front (east) end of the Mishkan has no boards, but should be covered with a “screen” (masach) held up by five pillars of gold-covered shittim wood inserted into five copper sockets. Like the Parochet, the “screen” should be a tapestry of multi-colored wool and fine-spun linen. It should be decorated with images of “embroidered work.”


The Outer Courtyard - Moshe is commanded to construct the Altar--a hollow, earth-filled structure made of copper-plated shittim wood--to be placed outside the Mishkan, in front of the “screen” on its eastern side; on this “Outer Altar,” selected parts of the offerings brought to the Sanctuary are burnt.

The Altar - “And you shall make its pans to receive its ashes, and its shovels, and its basins, and its forks, and its firepans: all its vessels you shall make of copper. All the utensils of the tabernacle in all its service, and all its pegs, and all the pegs of the enclosure, shall be of copper.”

The Mishkan and the Enclosure - Both the Mishkan and the Altar should stand within an enclosure or “courtyard” (chatzer). The Enclosure should measure 100 cubits from east to west and 50 cubits north to south. Its walls should consist of linen hangings held up by pillars of shittim wood with silver hooks and silver trimmings inserted in copper sockets. A total of sixty pillars should be made, including four pillars to support a 20-cubit screen that should stand before the entranceway in the center of the eastern side of the enclosure.


The Spiritual Temple - His Body “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory, glory of the only begotten Son of God, full of grace and truth” John 1:14 He who was the Word and spoke to them at Sinai came down once again in visible form, but this time with His glory veiled and manifested in human flesh. This tabernacle was also a temporary dwelling place for Him to visit His people and be with them to fulfill His eternal purposes.

He came to be a sacrificial offering in the body which had been prepared for Him (Psalm 40: 6; Hebrews 10: 5), to make atonement for the sins of the world, in order that, by being a prototype of a man indwelt by the Spirit of Yahweh, He could bring many others into that experience of sonship.

On many occasions He said that the Father dwelt in Him (John 14:10) and that they, the believers would also know this relationship with the Father through His Spirit given to them. (John 17:20-23) He said to them, “He dwells with you and shall be in you” John 14:17 This event took place at the ‘second Sinai’ which was on the day of ‘Pentecost’ (Acts 2:4) where they were indwelt by the Holy Spirit and became tabernacles or dwelling places for the Spirit. (Romans 8:11)

This is quoted by Paul as what was to be fulfilled in the new covenant, “I will dwell in them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” 2 Corinthians 6:16; Leviticus 26:11-12 So that they became a corporate temple/tabernacle/dwelling place of Yahweh through His Spirit. 1 Corinthians 3:16

Yahweh chose to use a physical tabernacle in which to dwell to be amongst His people Israel during their spiritual journey in His purposes as a nation, but He has always desired to have that personal fellowship which He enjoyed in a measure with His first son Adam in the garden while he was in his innocence. His plan of the ages has been to have many sons, who having attained a maturity in their spiritual stature are able to fellowship with Him in His manifest presence. No longer innocent ‘babes’ but responsible matured sons who walk in His own holiness and purity. Those who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb and are fully prepared and adorned, ready to be His Bride. Rev 7:15; 21: 3

Yeshua said that anyone who loves Him will keep His Word and that the Father will demonstrate His own love for the individual, and that the both of them (Father and Son) would come to make their abode with him. (John 14:23,17:23) This is the full manifestation of the godhead in man as a result of keeping His Word.

This life of ours is an opportunity to make a “t’rumah” unto Yahweh and to present our tabernacle - our body, as a living sacrifice to Him and be completely transformed into the likeness of the Almighty by His indwelling presence. He will not coerce us into making this choice. The decision is ours, it has to be a free-will offering.