“The offering that you shall take from them shall consist of ... cedar-wood...”

-Terumah 25:3-5

The building of the Sanctuary in the desert required cedar-wood. Where would they get cedar-wood in the desert? Rashi quotes the Midrash: Our patriarch Jacob prophetically foresaw that the Jewish people would need to build a sanctuary in the wilderness. Thus he brought cedars with him to Egypt and planted them there. He commanded his sons to take these with them when they leave Egypt.

By planting cedars in Egypt, Jacob did not simply show foresight to provide an eventual need for the Jewish people. With his action he also encouraged his descendants of the later generations. It strengthened them with an ability to contend with the darkness of galut. It strengthened the hope and courage of Israel at all times. For even in the very thick of the galut we have in our midst the “cedars” that our forefather Jacob planted in every generation.