A Torah Though on Parashat Terumah by Moshe Feiglin
And they will make me a sanctuary and I will dwell in their midst. (From this week’s Torah portion, Terumah, Exodus 25:8)
Last week’s Torah portion, Mishpatim, deals mostly with “regular” laws. The French also know that a son must not hit his father and the Russians know that a person who digs a pit that causes damage must take responsibility and pay. On the surface, Mishpatim would need only cosmetic changes to serve as a codex for every nation on earth. Last week we pointed out that the entirety of Jewish law creates an essential difference between it and other national law systems: the complete liberty of the Jew.
In this week’s Torah portion, we no longer need to search for the liberty peeking out from the forest of laws. The entire ebb and flow of life, from laws of the individual until the Jewish holidays described in Mishpatim now come together in the dimension beyond the physical world. In Mishpatim, G-d instructs us as to how to live our lives throughout the year. But the routine cannot end up as eternal, pointless subjugation to life’s cycles. In Terumah, we connect to eternity.
“And they will make me a sanctuary and I will dwell in their midst.” The proper, balanced and precise way of life that we learned in Mishpatim – as individuals and as a nation – allows us to connect between the physical and the meta-physical in this week’s Torah portion. It allows us to pour eternal meaning into our lives, to crown the Creator as King upon us and to be liberated from any and all human subjugation. The place that G-d chose for this connection, the Divine royal palace from which His Presence dwells in the entire world – is the Holy Temple on the Temple Mount.
Building the Holy Temple is not an optional privilege. The King of the world desires to infuse the world with His Presence and to rule over His world – specifically in this manner. Our entire existence here in Israel draws its strength from this destiny. The more that we deny it, the more our existence loses its significance and legitimacy.
“He who rules over the Mount rules over the Land,” explained the poet of rebuke and faith, Uri Tzvi Greenberg.
When we establish true Jewish leadership for Israel, we will restore our control over the Mount, and as a result, over the Land.