Rabbi Feingold's D'var Torah


In this week's parasha, Moses receives from God instructions for building the Mishkan, or portable Tabernacle, for worshiping God during the wilderness journey to the Land of Israel. Because a great amount of detail is given regarding dimensions, materials, utensils, and more, many commentators have attempted to explain the symbolism of all that went into the Mishkan. The great Jewish historian of the Roman era, Josephus, explained that the 12 loaves of bread symbolized the 12 months; the 7 lamps, the sun, moon and 5 planets known at that time; and the four materials in the curtain, the four elements, of earth, fire, wind and water. (Antiquities III 7:7)

Exodus 25:1−27:19

At the end of this week's parasha, after Moses shares with the people of Israel a long list of laws that he received from God, Moses is summoned once again to the top of the mountain along with Aaron, his sons Nadab and Abihu, and the 70 elders. Surprisingly, it is stated in the Torah that all 74 of them "saw the God of Israel." (Ex 24:10) However, elsewhere we read that only Moses saw God "face to face." (Deut 34: 10) But this is not a contradiction with what is written here because it seems that those on the mountain in Mishpatim only see God's divine feet : "...under His feet there was likeness of a pavement of sapphire, like the very sky for purity." (Ex 24:10). These are metaphors for God, but they are descriptions that have led many to cling to simplistic and child-like images of God as having human form. Others, regrettably, reject the idea of God altogether because they think that this anthropomorphic view is the only Jewish idea of God. On the contrary, most Jewish God ideas, from ancient times until now, are more abstract and spiritual and fit with many of our contemporary views.


In addition, feel free to bring unopened "chametz" before Passover begins--through April 9 only please. The non-perishables will be taken to the Shalom Center Food Pantry before the holiday begins.
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