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IF YOU BUILD IT, HE WILL COME

by Benyamin Cohen    
Torah from Dixie Staff Writer    

We can derive an invaluable lesson from a peculiar verse in this week's Torah portion. "They shall make a sanctuary for Me -- so that I may dwell among them" (Exodus 25:8).

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We can derive an invaluable lesson from a peculiar verse in this week's Torah portion. "They shall make a sanctuary for Me -- so that I may dwell among them" (Exodus 25:8). At first glance, one would think that the there is a misprint in the Torah. It should read ". . .so that I may dwell among in it," meaning that if the Jewish people build the sanctuary, then I will have a place to rest. If they build it, I will come! Why then, does Hashem say that he will dwell among them and not in it?

The Abarbanel, a philosopher and leader of Spanish Jewry at the time of the expulsion, clears up the misunderstanding by stating that Hashem is referring to the Jewish people themselves and not the Tabernacle. If they build the Tabernacle, then I will dwell among THEM!! If they participate in the construction of the sanctuary, then I will reward them by dwelling among each and every one of them.

The sanctuary is of a portable nature. The Torah is trying to teach us that no matter where we are -- whether it be in the heart of Jerusalem or the frozen tundra of the North Pole -- Hashem can and will be with us. We shouldn't be discouraged by our surroundings. As long as we immerse ourselves in the words of Torah, as long as we take time to participate in the construction of the sanctuary, Hashem will dwell among us. It is this attitude which will be the catalyst to our survival of the exile.

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Benyamin Cohen, a native Atlantan and alumnus of Yeshiva Atlanta, is editor of Torah from Dixie.

You are invited to read more Parshat Terumah articles.

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