Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Terumah

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In this week’s Torah portion, Terumah, Hashem commands us to build the Mishkan. To do so we needed to bring acacia wood.

Rashi cites the words from the verse “and acacia wood” and explains, “Where did they get these (trees) in the desert? Rabbi Tanchumah explained that our father Yaakov foresaw with a prophecy that the Jews were destined to build a Mishkan in the Wilderness, so he brought cedars to Egypt and planted them. He commanded his descendants to take the trees with them when they left Egypt.”

Why did Yaakov start preparing for this over 200 years before it was time to build the Mishkan? Furthermore, why did we we needed to bring trees from Israel and replant them in Egypt?

Rashi answers this question by telling us that “Rabbi Tanchumah explained.” The name “Tanchumah” is from the Hebrew word “nechomoh,” meaning consolation. The Jews knew that G-d had promised to redeem us. However, throughout all of the years of slavery, we could look at actual physical cedars that were brought from Israel (conveying the idea of redemption) and be comforted from our suffering by seeing a real, concrete sign of redemption.

The teaching of Rabbi Tanchumah is not only a consolation for the Egyptian exile. Rather it is to comfort us in all of our exiles, including our prolonged present exile. The Midrash teaches us that exile is comparable to our wandering in the wilderness of the nations. The purpose of our wandering was in order to build a sanctuary in the wilderness. We were to take a barren wasteland, a place void of holiness, a place of[1] “snakes, vipers, scorpions, and thirst …” and to build a sanctuary there.  We are to build a Mishkan and a Sanctuary to Hashem, a dwelling place for Him in the lowest of all places.  After this work, we will be able to fulfill the commandment[2] “They shall make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them” in the purest sense of the word. We will build the third Bais Hamikdosh, in which Hashem will reveal the original Mishkan built by Moshe. Our ability to accomplish this, and to break through the darkness of exile is a result of Yaakov bringing the cedars from Israel.

I wish one and all a good Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos 31, Page 146ff.

מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש

Mrs. Chana (Ann) bas Reb Shmuel ע “ה Mendelsohn
Passed away on 7 Adar II, 5752
May Her Soul be bound in the Eternal Bond of Life
לעילוי נשמת
מרת חנה בת ר’ שמואל ע”ה מענדלסאהן
נפטרה ביום ז’ אדר שני, ה’תשנ”ב
ת. נ. צ. ב. ה.

The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris
חיילי “צבאות השם” חיים ועדן עודד שיחיו מאריס
נדפס ע”י הוריהם
הרה”ת ר’ מנחם מענדל וזוגתו מרת חי’ מושקא שיחיו מאריס

[1]. Devorim 8:15.

[2]. Our Parshah, Shemos 25:8.

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