The haftarah for Terumah is about the construction of the First Temple by Solomon.1

The connection to our parshah is that in our parshah, G‑d commanded Moshe to construct the Mishkan with all its details. It also lays out the main idea of the Mishkan, “And they will make for me a holy place, and I will dwell within them.”2 This idea is reiterated at the conclusion of the haftarah, “And I will dwell within the children of Israel . . . ”3

The theme of the parshah, which the haftarah highlights, is that G‑d wants to be with us. We make a dwelling place for Him in the physical, and from there, His light shines to the whole world.

How do we do this now in exile? What lessons can we take about the Third Temple in the era of Moshiach?

The haftarah begins with the words: “And G‑d gave Solomon wisdom.”4 This is part of the reason that there was peace in his time, as people from all over the world were enamored by his wisdom. The haftarah ends with a reference to David,5 who was a great ruler, waging great battles and expanding the borders, and gaining the respect of the world. This points to King Moshiach, regarding whom the Rambam says will be “from the House of David and the seed of Solomon.”6 He will be the greatest sovereign and the greatest in wisdom. Moshiach will gain the respect of the world, achieve true world peace, and under him, we will have the Third Temple.

The building of the Mishkan and the Temple is a requirement for every Jew, in every era, even when we don’t have a physical place for the physical building. Each of us is able to make our surroundings, our home and our body into a dwelling place for G‑d.

The haftarah tells us that Solomon set up a levy.7 Men were required to work for one month out of three acquiring wood from Lebanon and stone from quarries, which would be used for the construction of the Temple. A man named Adoniram was in charge of the levy.8 Why is it important for us to know his name?

The name Adoniram can be divided into two words: adoni, which means “my master”; and ram, which means, “is exalted.” Like a levy, it is our obligation to make a dwelling for G‑d. This is done by uncovering the sparks of G‑dliness hidden in the physical through doing mitzvahs with them, thereby reuniting them with their source, G‑d.

“Adoniram was in charge of the levy” indicates that the physical poses no obstacle to our work, elevating these sparks to their exalted source because in this world, G‑d is the master. The only possible obstacle is ourselves.9

The haftarah now tells us the dimensions and design of the Temple. It says, “He made for the house windows, wide on the outside and narrow on the inside.”10 Normally, homes were built with windows that were wider on the inside, maximizing the amount of light entering the home. However, the Temple’s windows were wider on the outside, so that the light went out of the Temple to the whole world.11

This is also true for every Jewish person and every Jewish home. By making ourselves and our homes into dwelling places for G‑d’s presence, we become a beacon of His light to our families, our communities, and ultimately, to the whole world. In this time of exile, we are G‑d’s Temple.

The haftarah tells us, that “neither hammer nor axe nor any iron tool was heard in the House while it was being built.”12 As a matter of fact, neither the Mishkan, nor the First and Second Temples, were permitted to have any iron used as part of their construct. Why? Because iron was the metal used to make weapons for war, and it would later be used to destroy both the First and Second Temples. However, in the Third Temple, iron will be part of its construct.

Why is the Third Temple different? Being that in the era of Moshiach, there will no longer be death and war, and since the Third Temple will be built by G‑d, it won’t be subject to destruction. The negative aspects of iron will cease to be a factor, and the positive and holy side of iron will indeed come to the fore. Therefore, it will be part of the Temple.

The First and Second Temples were made of stone. While stone is strong, iron is stronger. One of the holy aspects of iron is, as our great sages tell us, that “any Torah scholar who isn’t hard as iron is no Torah scholar.”13 This refers to their strength and steadfast commitment to the essence of their soul, like iron.

Iron in Hebrew is barzel, an acronym for Bilha, Rachel, Zilpa and Leah,14 Jacob’s wives, the mothers of the 12 Tribes. Note that Bilha and Zilpa (the two who began as maids) are named before the main wives, Rachel and Leah.

What is the possible advantage that Bilha and Zilpa have over Rachel and Leah?

To understand this, we first need to recognize the point of greatness that our matriarchs had over our patriarchs, seen in G‑d’s words to Abraham: “Whatever Sarah will tell you, listen to her voice.”15 The matriarchs possessed a greater level of prophecy. This is similar to what is said about the time of Moshiach, about which we are told “the feminine will surround the masculine”16 and “the woman of valor, the crown of her husband.”17 She will be above her husband. Since the patriarchs experienced a taste of the world to come, they experienced how the feminine was greater.

The matriarchs also grounded the patriarchs, who were at a lofty spiritual level. But Rachel and Leah were also at a lofty spiritual level, so they could only ground Jacob’s holiness so far. But Bilha and Zilpa, being at a lower spiritual level, were able to ground Jacob even further, effecting and developing the lowest levels of the physical world.

When Moshiach comes, even the lowest physical existence will be raised to its G‑dly source. What was lowest will become holy at the highest level.

Now we can understand how iron—which is lower than gold, silver and copper, and the metal used in war and destruction—will be part of the Third Temple. Because even the lowest physical existence will be raised to its G‑dly source and the highest level of holiness.18

Through our efforts to make our homes and ourselves into a Mishkan, G‑d’s light will spread throughout the world and usher in the redemption. And we will merit to witness the Third Temple, built with iron, with the coming of Moshiach. May he come soon.