Parashat Terumah

God’s Blueprint

Nothing in the universe is left up to chance. We do not live in an ‎unpredictable, unplanned cosmos wrought by the hidden ‎uncontrolled hand of statistical randomness. The universe, all ‎creation, runs according to the rules set down by the only God, of ‎Avraham Yitzchak and Ya’akov. It is not a cold unfathomable ‎place, hostile to humanity, far from it. It is a warm and above all ‎righteous place perfectly designed for humanity to live in and ‎thrive there, if we follow the moral code, the guidelines by which ‎all things run and prosper. To attempt to operate the ‘kit’ in a ‎different way will result in an inevitable crash, a universal blue ‎screen of death. The Torah, the complete Mitzvot, outlines for us ‎the user instructions that make the universe tick. And one of the ‎main lessons we are to learn from the Torah about how the ‎universe ticks is included in this week’s portion. It is here that we ‎read of the building of the Tabernacle/ Mishkan, and the ‎offerings brought in order to build it.‎

A fundamental lesson is learnt not so much as asking WHY the ‎Mishkan was built (although that is a very good question), but ‎HOW. And as we consider this it is no wonder that we see ‎something very special about the construction. Let’s ask the ‎obvious question: What does all building work begin with? The ‎foundations. You dig deep in order to build up, a basically ‎vertical concept. But this is not so with this construction. What ‎we see here is that the construction work begins in the middle ‎and works out: the Ark, followed by the Holy of Holies and so on ‎until we reach the outside badger skins and the opening flap. It ‎is a horizontal concept. From this we learn that all building work ‎undertaken by the Lord God starts with Him. He is at the centre ‎and everything extends out from Him. The design has His ‎fingerprints all over it; He says effectively, if this building project ‎will stand and last, and be used as it should be, ‘fit for purpose’, ‎then God has to be at the centre and everything emanates from ‎Him outwards to us, not vice versa. The work is always from Go‎d’s perspective not ours. We think ‘up’ He thinks ‘out’. God has ‎planned that His presence will come to us, we need to learn that ‎we can’t ‘find’ God (and people have tried). We can call upon His ‎name, and the Torah says He will be found, but that is as He ‎responds to our desire to know Him and be with Him. In Psalm ‎‎127:1, it says that unless Lord builds the house we labour in ‎vain. If we think we can build anything for G-d we are wrong. Our ‎own ideas are effectively worthless in comparison to HIS eternal ‎ideas. In fact with the Mishkan not only did God tell Moshe how ‎big it was to be and what materials to use, He even told him who ‎was to build it, Bezazel and Aholiab, men who had been gifted to ‎build it. Nothing was left to chance or random design, this place ‎was to represent the footstool of God on this earth. His will is ‎interpreted to us through His designs, choices, callings and ‎giftings. This place was the ‘Palace’ if you like of our God on ‎earth, He rules from there. The Kingdom of God begins to take ‎shape amongst our people, a theocracy where His rule is ‎absolute, a benign dictator.‎

Messianic Judaism is a reformational, revived form of Judaism. ‎Whenever such reconstruction work is undertaken you should ‎always take a look at the foundations before starting to build or ‎add to. Our foundations as Jews in our Jewish lives is drawn ‎from Torah, and not just as text or a historical narrative, but as ‎revelation from God. Within it we read of core, foundational ‎principles as we see here in the construction of the Mishkan. It is ‎why in Messianic Judaism we uphold and teach the centrality of ‎God Himself in our midst. Upon this Rock we shall build and have ‎safe foundations, through Him alone will we see this ‎reformational work grow and extend out to fill the anticipated and ‎projected borders, physically, theologically and ethnologically.‎

Rabbi Binyamin