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Published and copyright © by Avrohom Gedalia Gershon


Last week's parsha was parsha Mishpatim, where Moshe Rabeinu was on Mount Sinai receiving commandments from G-d after the Jewish people asked him to receive the rest of the Torah for them. This is parsha Trumah which continues in that vein.

In the first aliyah G-d instructs Moshe to take a freewill offering of every man, of contributions of gold, silver, copper, and other precious materials to be used for the sanctuary and the priestly garments.

G-d says, "Make me a sanctuary, that I will dwell in them" (the plural "them" indicates all Jewish households, which, when run according to Torah law, G-d is saying that He will dwell in each of them).

This aliyah also contains the instructions for building the ark for the luchos (tablets) that have yet to be given to the Jews.

The second aliyah contains instructions for making the cover for the ark. It should be made of one beaten piece of pure gold including two cherubim (each of which had the form of the face of a child). The two cherubim are to face each other and have spreading wings, screening the ark cover.

Instructions are also given for making the Shulchan (the table) for the lechem panim (Showbread), and also its pans and jars and bowls.

Instructions for placing the Showbread on this table are given elsewhere in the Torah, but are seen in the siddur at the end of the Shabbat Morning Prayer on page 201 of the Siddur Tehillat Hashem. The twelve loaves described there are one reason we use two loaves of challah on Shabbat, each made with six braids, for a total of twelve pieces.

The third aliyah (using Sephardic shlishi) contains instructions for making the Menorah (candelabra). It is made of a single piece of pure gold, a beaten work, with places for seven flames, and containing cups, knobs, and flowers in its body. Rashi says Moshe was so perplexed by the intricacies of making the Menorah that G-d told Moshe to cast the gold into the fire and G-d made

it for them.

Instructions are also given for the making of the ten curtains of the Mishkan (tabernacle). Five curtains are connected together and the other five are connected together. The curtains are made of fine twined linen and blue and purple and scarlet yarn.

The fourth aliyah contains instructions for making the boards of the Mishkan with their sockets and rings. The boards are made of cedar wood, and Rashi says that Yakov Avinu (our patriarch) planted cedar trees in Egypt because he knew that in the future G-d would require Yakov's descendants to build a Mishkan in the desert out of cedar.

The fifth aliyah contains instructions for making the "poroches" (the veil), and hanging it between the holy of holies (kodesh hakodoshim) and the holy place. In the holy of holies, inside the veil, the ark with the luchos is placed with the ark cover over it. Outside the veil, the Menorah (the candelabra) is placed toward the south, and the Shulchan (the table) is placed toward the north, opposite each other.

The sixth aliyah contains instructions for making the Mizbayach (alter), also of cedar wood. It should have four horns (vertical projections), one on each corner, and it should be overlaid with copper. All its vessels are made of copper.

The seventh aliyah contains instructions for making the court of the Mishkan and its gate.


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