19 Feb Rabbi Hillel Skolnik’s Torah Spark for T’rumah 5775
This Shabbat we read from Parashat T’rumah which begins the instructions given to the Israelites on how to construct the miskhan, or Tabernacle, which was the portable sanctuary that the Israelites carried with them throughout the desert. Even a quick read through Parashat T’rumah would reveal the incredible detail included in the instructions. While the craftsmanship certainly required incredible expertise, the design was put forth by God and had seemingly no input from any people. Of course our modern day synagogues are constructed in quite the opposite manner. You can pretty much always find an ark with Torahs inside, an eternal light and a bimah (the stage at the front of the room), but the color scheme, seating plan, and other interior design choices are left up to that particular community. It is a sign of the fact that in our modern times we worship God not only in the Tabernacle but wherever we might be. And where we are located can have a significant effect on the spirituality we feel in that moment. Designing a prayer space is a sacred task to be done with great care. And so too must we take care to use that sacred space to nurture our personal and communal connections with God.
Rabbi Hillel Skolnik