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  • Writer's pictureRabbi Yonah Burr

Terumah: The Three Crowns Inside the Mishkan


This week begins the detailed description of the Mishkan. The sacred vessels, the ark, the table, and the menorah; the altar, the tapestries and the panels. Hashem’s dwelling place in this world, as it were, among the Jewish People. We realize that deep mysteries must be contained within that are beyond our comprehension!


Our Sages tell us that even Moshe Rabbeinu had trouble understanding some of details, and the Menorah was so complicated that it had to made by Hashem Himself!


While Hashem’s true intent in the details is beyond us, we can still try to find ‘lesson gems’ and glean as much as we can from these beautiful parshiyos. I saw a wonderful idea from the Klei Yakar.


Three of the sacred vessels had ‘crowns’; an ornate trimming that rose above the top of the vessel. The Aron, the Shulchan, and the Golden altar.


The Aron represents the Torah; each one of us can strive to our potential, and merit the crown of Torah. The Shulchan represents royalty and material success. And finally, the Mizbaech represents the ‘crown’ of Kehuna, the special merit of being able to serve Hashem.


The Klei Yakar points out that the measurements of the Aron are in ‘halves ; incomplete units of measure; two and a half long, one and a half wide, and one and a half tall. The Shulchan has both 'whole numbers’ and half numbers, two amos long, one amah wide, and one and a half tall. while the Mizbe’ach has only complete, whole numbers.


Explains the Klei Yakar: to acquire Torah, we must view ourselves as incomplete. We only know ‘half’ of what we should know, and we should always strive to understand something better. The Shulchan represents material success. In this area, we should preferably view ourselves as complete; we should be content with what we have, and instead of looking at others who have more, we should realize that there are those that have even less. And again, even within what we do have, we should minimize, and not over-indulge, hence the half number.


The Mizbe’ach on the other hand, is completely whole. We should appreciate the opportunity to serve Hashem, the wholesomeness it affords us, and the completeness and fulfillment that it brings us. Serving Hashem is the ultimate joy, and is what will bring us the perfect satisfaction and happiness that we all seek.


May we merit to bring the Shechina into our midst and see the coming of Moshiach speedily in our day!


Have a wonderful Shabbos.


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