July 23, 2024 ~ Sh PINEHAS. M SABA.

Shabbat Teruma - שבת תרומה



ויקחו לי תרומה - Building the tabernacle was an important, yet challenging, task in helping to define Israel's communal relationship with the Almighty. Detailed instructions are given on how to successfully go about completing this holy endeavor. "From every individual" (מאת כל איש), teaches us that donor participation should be universal; rich and poor alike. Donations should be given on a voluntary basis (אשר ידבנו לבו) and not through any type of peer pressure or mandatory tax. Despite the fact that contributions should be coming from both the rich and poor alike, to show honor to God, only the finest materials could be used in its construction (זהב וכסף ונחשת)... If the temple, or possibly in our times, the synagogue, is built using the precepts mentioned above (ועשו לי מקדש), then God assures that His presence will always reside in it and within the hearts of each and every community member (ושכנתי בתוכם). Beth Torah Bulletin, 3/4/17.

The Rings

בטבעת הארן יהיו הבדים לא יסרו ממנו - The carrying poles (בדים), Exodus 25:15 instructs, must permanently remain within the ark's rings (טבעת); never ever to be disassembled (לא יסרו ממנו). These poles function to carry the ark (הארן), which carries the sacred testimony (עדת). The fact that the poles and the ark are forever to be united teaches us a valuable lesson. The poles represent physical pursuits, and the ark represents spiritual pursuits. Ordinarily, these two pursuits appear to be opposites. When it comes to the proper way of worshiping God, however, the two are connected and intertwined. The unifying objects, the rings, teach us that hard work, often in the form of physical labor, is necessary in the pursuit of spirituality. The ark, and by extension, the Torah, the source of spiritual enlightenment, cannot exist on its own. The contributions of great people are the poles that are needed to constantly support it and keep it strong. Beth Torah Bulletin, 2/17/18.

The Teruma-Tessave Mystery

תרומה תצוה מחוברות - Most years, in order to help synchronize the calendar, some Torah portions are combined. The 7 combined portions are: Vayaqhel-Pequdei, Tazria-Tahor, Ahare-Qedoshim, Behar-Behuqotai, Huqat-Balaq (or Qorah-Huqat in Aleppo), Matot-Masei, and Nisabim-Vayelekh. Upon reviewing an Aliyot Stop source that Gabriel A Shrem copied from Rabbi Jacob S Kassin, I saw that Teruma-Tessave can also be read combined. This is corroborated by a source by H David A Tawil. This week, I asked 25 people if they recall Teruma-Tessave combined, and while most vaguely recall doing so, none were able to provide an exact date. To settle this mystery, I called H Eli Marcus. He said that he recalls hearing of a disagreement taking place in Aleppo of whether to have Teruma-Tessave or Tazria-Tahor combined. Our Brooklyn SY community, however, decided to stick with the larger Jewish community and not combine Teruma-Tessave. Tiqqun Highlights, Beth Torah Bulletin, 2/7/19.

Inside and Out

מִבַּ֥יִת וּמִח֖וּץ תְּצַפֶּ֑נּוּ - The Ark of the Covenant, says Exodus 25:11, is to be plated with pure gold both on the inside as well as the outside. It is easy to understand why the outside be plated with pure gold, after all, the Israelites want to show high respect for the object that houses the Ten Commandment tablets, but why must the inside also be plated with gold? When it comes to most things, including ourselves or our community, there is both an inside and an outside. Many times, people invest so much time, effort, and money on their outward appearances (clothing, houses, cars), but then completely neglect their insides; such as their health (physical and mental), their relationships with family and friends, and their overall spirituality. The instruction of making sure that the Ark has gold also on the inside is a reminder that one must make sure not to neglect their insides at the expense of investing only on their outsides. The two aspects of inside and outside should be treated equally. Beth Torah Bulletin, February 29, 2020.

Maqam of the Week: BAYAT-HOSENI

For Shabbat Teruma (Exodus 25:1- 27:19), prayers are conducted in Maqam BAYAT-HOSENI according to at least 12 sources, because we are introduced to the mishkan (tabernacle) and the miqdash (sanctuary). The centerpiece of the tabernacle is the Ark of the Covenant (aron) where the Torah (edut) is placed. Since the mishkan, and specifically, the Torah, is of great beauty, Maqam HOSENI, the Arabic word for 'beauty', is applied. The melody of HOSENI can be described as "a high Bayat." Despite the above, there are at least 15 sources that cite to apply Maqam SABA. Sephardic Pizmonim Project, www.pizmonim.com.