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Parashat Terumah – A Personal Bet HaMikdash

וְעָשׂוּ לִי מִקְדָּשׁ וְשָׁכַנְתִּי בְּתוֹכָם

And they shall make Me a sanctuary and I will dwell among them


I’m sorry. I lied.

Reb Chaim Volozhiner writes that the translation should really be “I will dwell within them.” Hashem promises us that if we make ourselves into a sanctuary, He will dwell inside each and every one of us.

As a precursor to the list of everything that was to be in the Mishkan and later the Bet HaMikdash, Hashem told Moshe that the main goal was not to have a physical building where Hashem would be and could be visited. The goal was that everyone could look at those buildings to understand what it takes to get Hashem to dwell somewhere, and do so to themselves.

The Mishkan was to remain pure. Everything in it had a specific purpose, all working together toward the same goal of the best possible service of Hashem. One must try to have every thought and action be pure (or at the very least not impure) so that Hashem can dwell within him. Hashem similarly told Shlomo Hamelech when he was building the Bet HaMikdash “through this building… I will dwell within my nation.” When the Jews saw the building they would better understand what was expected of them, which would enable them to make themselves eligible to have Hashem dwell within them.

Shabbat Shalom

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