In this week’s parasha, we find the verse. “Let them make for me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them.” (Ex 25:8) How do we make sure that God will come to dwell in our sanctuaries? The leader of our Reform movement, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, answers the question by citing a passage from Joseph Caro’s 16th century code of law, the Shulchan Aruch. Jacobs puts it this way, first quoting from the Shulcahn Aruch: “‘You shall not enter a holy place in the summer in order to find shelter from the heat, nor to find refuge from the rain.’ If you must enter for some other purpose than a spiritual purpose, you should first take time to recite a few verses of Scripture…or say a prayer, listen to some Torah words, or at least sit down and just be still and quiet.” There are many reasons we come to the synagogue: to conduct temple business, to socialize, to play games, to work on a project, and yes, to learn and to pray. They are all good reasons, but Terumah is reminding us that the synagogue has a higher purpose that we can fulfill each and every time we enter.
Rabbi D. Feingold