WWOT: Weekly Words of Torah – Parashat Terumah

To inspire, guide, engage, enrich, and empower Conservative Jewish Women
By Rabbi Ellen S. Wolintz-Fields, Executive Director, Women’s League For Conservative Judaism

In this week’s Torah reading, Parashat Terumah, God begins to provide the instructions to Moses and the Children of Israel on how to build the Tabernacle, or Mishkan, the movable Temple used by the Children of Israel while they traveled in the desert. God provided the reason for this great construction project of the tabernacle in Exodus chapter 7, verse 8, “And let them make Me a Sanctuary that I may dwell among them,” V’asu le mikdash, v’shachanti b’tocahm. This verse has become one of my favorite verses in the Torah.

In a famous Hasidic saying, the Kotzker Rebbe was once asked: “Where does God dwell?” to which he replied, “Wherever you let God in.” Therefore, one might ask, why would God tell us to build a special Sanctuary to have God dwell in, if God can dwell anywhere? Perhaps to remind us that we also need to be in the proper state of mind, as well as in the proper location, to have God dwell with us. God wants a special home to be, when God is with us. We also need to prepare ourselves and make ourselves a mikdash miat, a mini sanctuary, and so be worthy receptacles to where God can dwell amongst us – which can be accomplished by being cognizant of how we speak; how we behave, and all that we do, so we can truly say that we are worthy to be places where God wants to dwell with us. May all of our Sisterhoods be such places!

WWOT, Weekly Words of Torah is a brief paragraph prepared weekly by our new Executive Director, Rabbi Ellen S. Wolintz-Fields, presented in our “This Week @ Women’s League.” WWOT will provide meaningful thoughts related to the Weekly Torah Portion, an event on the Calendar, a Prayer, or something of Jewish interest, to inspire, guide, engage, enrich, and empower Conservative Jewish Women. If you have any particular interest in future topics, or want to send Rabbi Wolintz-Fields an email, you can contact her at ewolintz-fields@wlcj.org. Read previous Weekly Words of Torah here.