January 28, 2023 |

Parshat Terumah: Walkthrough

Loyalty to the literal text, with a modern voice [All editorializing in brackets]

God continues with more instructions for Moses to tell the Israelites.

They should bring donations, from whoever is feeling generous: gold, silver, fine materials, animal skins, oil, precious stones, etc. – so that they can build me a Temple and I can dwell among them. Build the sanctuary exactly as I am about to spec it out for you.

[The rhythm from now on is a collection of specifications, punctuated with “do it as you were shown on the mountain.” The whole rest of the parsha is like this.]

Make a wooden ARK, 2.5L x 1.5W x 1.5H [all measurements are in cubits]. The wood should be covered in gold, with a gold perimeter. It should have two rings on each side. Then take wooden poles (also covered with gold), and run them through the rings on the sides, in order to carry the ark (the wood poles stay in the rings, don’t take them out). Into this ark you should put the covenant that I’ll give to you shortly.

Make a COVER of pure gold, 2.5L x 1.5W [note, same measurements as the ark]. Then make two cherubs [whatever those are] of a single, solid piece of gold, on each end of the cover. The cherubs should have their wings spread [OK, seems a cherub is something with wings], facing inward toward each other. Then put this cover on top of the ark (with the aforementioned covenant). And there, on top of the ark with the covenant, between the cherubs, is where I will show up when it’s time to talk to you, to give you messages to bring to the Israelites.

Make a wooden TABLE, 2L x 1W x 1.5H [so same height as the ark, but a little smaller on each side]. It should also be covered in gold, with a gold perimeter, and it also gets the four rings for the wooden poles (covered in gold) to carry it. Then make all the utensils for the table as well, out of pure gold. There should be a special bread on the table at all times.

Make a MENORA of a solid piece of pure gold, including its branches, cups, and decorations. There should be six branches, three on each side, each decorated with ornaments and flowers. It should have 7 candles. The tools used to clean it should also be pure gold.

Do all these exactly according to the specifications that you are shown on the mountain.

Make the SANCTUARY [technically, the cover of the sanctuary] out of 10 pieces of fabric, made of fine silk and careful design. Each piece should be 28L x 4W. 5 of them should be attached [along the long edge], and the other 5 should be as well. Each piece should have 50 holes along the [long] edge, which you should use to connect the pieces together with gold connectors [giving 2 pieces, each 20x28, or 40x28 when put end to end].

Then there should be a TENT [a second cover] in addition to the sanctuary [i.e. primary cover], made of 11 pieces of fabric, each one 30L x 4 W. 5 of the pieces should get attached, and another 6 as well [2 pieces, one 20x30 and one 24x30, for a total of 44x30 end to end], and then the last one should get folded over the entrance. These also get 50 holes in each edge, bound together with copper. Of the extra 4 [44-40], half [2] get draped over the front, and the other 2 over the back.

And then make a third cover to go over the “tent” out of animal skins.

Make the BEAMS of the sanctuary out of strong acacia wood. Each beam should be 10L x 1.5W. The beams should be placed as follows: 20 along the southern and northern walls, and 6 along the western wall. There should be wooden connectors going horizontally between the beams, with the center connector going through the actual beam. The beams and connectors should be covered with gold, and the rings for the connectors should be made of gold.

Set up the sanctuary, as you have been shown on the mountain.

Make a CURTAIN of royal colors and materials, with careful design, and attach it to 4 beams, covered with gold. Then bring the ark of the covenant behind the curtain, which will separate between the holy area and the holy of holies. Then, put the cover on the ark of the covenant in the holy of holies. The table goes outside the curtain, and the menorah goes opposite the table on the south (with the table on the north). Then make a screen for the entrance to the tent, also with royal embroidery. The screen gets hung on 5 beams, also covered with gold.

The ALTAR should be made of acacia wood as well, 5L x 5W (square), 3H. The corners should be raised, like horns, covered with copper. All the maintenance equipment should also be made of copper. Then a copper mesh along the middle of the altar, and wood poles (covered with copper) going through holes so that the altar could be transported.

They should make it the way you were shown on the mountain.

Set up the COURTYARD of the sanctuary. On the south side, use curtains of fine silk 100L each side, with 20 beams, and the same on the north. On the west and east, it should be 50L, At the entrance hang a screen of 20L, with royal embroidery. All the beams around the courtyard should be covered with silver. The courtyard overall should be 100L x 50W x 5H. All of the maintenance equipment for the sanctuary should be made of copper.


Jack Kustanowitz

Joined: July 15, 2007

Jack is an Internet professional living in Silver Spring, MD. He is a proud alum of the Frisch School in Paramus, NJ as well as Boston University, where he was active at BU Hillel.

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