Parashat Terumah (donation) Exodus 25:1-27:19
Haftarah: I Kings 5:23-6:13
Once again the primary thought in this week’s readings is the Temple. Whereas last week the condition of the Temple was emphasized, this week the purpose to Temple is discussed. One can summarize the purpose of the Temple in one word, worship. There are many people in the world who want to worship G-d. The problem is that the worship that G-d receives is not based on simply a desire to worship Him, but there is also something that must take place in an individual, if the person will be in a condition to offer worship to the living G-d. What is that? The answer is redemption; therefore the person who has not experienced redemption through Messiah Yeshua cannot worship HaShem.
In this week’s haftarah one reads,
“And it came about 480 years after the Children of Israel went out of Egypt, in the fourth year, in the month of Ziv, which is the second month; of King Solomon’s reign over Israel, he built the Temple of the L-rd.” I Kings 6:1
How would a rabbi understand this verse? First one must affirm that every detail in Scripture is important and necessary in order to arrive at the proper interpretation. The verse informs the reader that work began 480 years after the Exodus. The Hebrew text literally reads eighty years and four hundred years. So we will begin with the number eighty. Eighty is derived by 8 x 10. Eight is the number for “newness” or “redemption”. It is also related to the kingdom. The Temple represented something new. Redemption is also referred to by including the Exodus from Egypt in this verse, which occurred on Passover, the festival of redemption. The number ten has to do with “completeness”. Hence the ideas represented by the number eighty are being emphasized. The number four hundred is derived by 4 x 100. Whereas the number one hundred is 10 x 10, once again the idea of “wholeness” or “completeness” is being emphasized. The number four is a global number; that is, it refers to the world. This is seen in the four directions of the earth.
The fact that the Temple is built 480 years after the Exodus tells the reader that the Temple is for not just Jewish individuals or not just for the nation of Israel, but for the world. The Temple brings to humanity something new—worship that is based on redemption. It is significant that it was built in the second month of Ziv. This reminds the reader that first redemption must take place, remember that the Exodus took place in the first month. Then one is positioned by means of redemption to worship G-d. The Temple was not built until 480 years later in the second month called Ziv to emphasize that redemption lays the foundation for worship. It is also significant that the month in which the Temple was built (completed) is called Ziv, which means a ray or reflection of light. This teaches that true worship is a reflection of a redemptive experience with G-d. Without redemption through Messiah Yeshua the individual has nothing to reflect, i.e. offer to HaShem.
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