1. This week’s Torah portion, parshas Terumah, contains a fundamental Torah subject, the commandment, “And you shall make Me a Sanctuary and I will dwell within.”

Indeed, the remainder of the book of Shmos is devoted to this subject. This week’s portion describes G‑d’s command to build the Sanctuary itself and its utensils. Parshas Tetzaveh describes the mitzvah of kindling the Menorah, the priestly garments, the initiation of Aharon and his sons, and the incense altar. Parshas Ki Sisa describes the donation of the half-shekel to make the sockets, the particulars involved in the incense offering, and the making of the basin for sanctifying the priest’s hands and feet. Parshas Vayakhel describes the manner in which Moshe related G‑d’s command to the Jewish people and how they fulfilled it. Parshas Pekudei describes the completion of this sequence, the actual erection of the Sanctuary and how, “the glory of G‑d filled up the Sanctuary.”

Only after the narrative describing how the Sanctuary was erected is completed, does the Torah begin to relate the different commands which G‑d gave Moshe in regard to the sacrifices as described in the Book of Vayikra. From the fact that the command to build the Sanctuary and its fulfillment is described in several parshiyos, we can infer that each of those parshiyos represents a different concept and stage in the spiritual service associated with the Sanctuary.

The construction of the Sanctuary expresses, in microcosm, G‑d’s intent in the creation of the world, establishing a dwelling — a place where His essence is revealed — in the lower worlds. For this reason, the command to construct the Sanctuary came directly after the giving of the Torah. The giving of the Torah represented the nullification of the decree separating the spiritual from the material. From that time onward, the potential existed for the Divine Presence to be revealed within the world and for the material entities of this world to be elevated and transformed into articles of holiness.

Both of these dimensions were revealed in the construction and the service of the Sanctuary. The material entities donated by the Jews became part of G‑d’s Sanctuary and, when the Sanctuary was erected and the subsequent service, G‑d’s Presence was revealed within the world.

For this reason, the command, “Make Me a Sanctuary,” applies not only to the Sanctuary built in the desert, but to the Sanctuary in Shiloh, the Bais HaMikdash, and to the personal Sanctuary that is in the heart of every Jew, even during the time of exile. This, the establishment of a dwelling for G‑d, is the goal of the creation of the world.

The establishment of such a dwelling, however, involves many phases. Each of the parshiyos from Terumah until Vayikra represents a different stage in the establishment of this dwelling. The names of the various parshiyos allude to the service they refer to.

Parshas Terumah relates G‑d’s command to build the Sanctuary. This command gave the Jews the potential to make a dwelling for G‑d using the material entities of this world for a Sanctuary wherein G‑d’s Presence would be revealed.

Parshas Tetzaveh adds a deeper dimension to the unity established between G‑d and the world as revealed in the opening phrase, V’Atah Tetzaveh. Tetzaveh is related to the word tzavsa meaning “connection.” V’Atah, “And you” refers to the essence of Moshe’s being, and in an ultimate sense, G‑d’s essence, the only level which one can truly approach directly and say, “You.” Through the construction of the Sanctuary, a connection is established between the Jewish people as they exist within this material world and, the essence of Moshe’s soul, and with G‑d’s essence.

The revelation of Moshe’s essence and G‑d’s essence — which will also bring about the revelation of the essence of every Jew — will effect even the lowest levels. Regardless of the level he is on, the essence of every Jew, even the most simple person, is connected with the essence of G‑d through a fundamental bond that cannot be broken or interrupted as the Alter Rebbe declared, “No Jew can or desires to be separate from G‑d.”

Based on the above, we can understand the higher level reflected by parshas Tetzaveh in comparison with parshas Terumah. G‑d mentioned Moshe’s name when He related the command to build the Sanctuary to him. This implies that this relates only to the revealed levels of G‑dliness. In contrast, in parshas Tetzaveh, Moshe’s name is not mentioned, implying that it reflects an essential connection which reaches G‑d’s essence itself and is drawn down to every Jew, even those on the lowest levels. They also share a connection with G‑d’s essence.

This concept is also reflected in the kindling of the Menorah, the mitzvah mentioned at the beginning of the parshah. The manner in which the Torah relates this command is problematic: Though Aharon and his sons were those who kindled the Menorah, G‑d tells Moshe that the oil for the Menorah should be brought to him. Furthermore, in the initial verse which was directed to Moshe, the Torah talks about kindling “a continuous flame,” while the second verse which describes the kindling of the Menorah by Aharon, mentions that the Menorah should burn “from the evening until the morning.”

These difficulties can be resolved through an analysis of the spiritual dimensions of the concept. The kindling of the Menorah refers to lighting “the candle of G‑d, the soul of man,” which is in the heart of every Jew, motivating each Jew to love G‑d, to desire to cling to G‑dliness, and to shine with “the candle of mitzvah and the light of Torah.” Aharon gives each Jew’s soul the potential to shine from below (the Jew’s own level) to above. Therefore, there are limitations within the power of the light and they shine only “from the evening until the morning;” i.e., a small flame of G‑dly light shines within the person’s darkness. This refers to the light generated by the service of prayer and the fulfillment of mitzvos which are effected by the limitations of time.

“From the evening until the morning” also implies a continuous process of growth. One ascends to a higher level, “morning,” which makes one’s previous rung appear as “evening.”

For Aharon’s kindling of the candles — the souls of the Jewish people to be “a continuous flame” — the connection with the essence of G‑d (Atah Tetzaveh as explained above) must be established. The essence of G‑d is above all possibilities for change. Therefore, it (through the medium of the essence of Moshe) generates the potential for a service which is similarly unchanging. This is reflected in the service of “the light of Torah,” which establishes a constant connection between a Jew and his source and, thus, brings about a continuous light and revelation.

In particular, the passage speaks about three different dimensions: a) Aharon’s lighting of the candles “from the evening until the morning,” a revelation which recognizes and relates to the different levels with the world; b) “The continuous flame” associated with Moshe. Each of these revelations is significant and contributes a dimension lacking in the other.1 Both revelations are made possible and fused together through G‑d’s essence, Atoh Tetzaveh.

2. Parshas Ki Sisa contributes an added dimension to the manifestation of the Divine Presence in the Sanctuary. The words Ki Sisa mean. “When you shall lift up.” Thus, Ki Sisa deals with the elevation of the Jewish people from their previous rung. This, as emphasized by the association of this elevation with the giving of the half-shekel, is also related to the Jews’ activities involving the material substance of the world.

To explain: When G‑d commanded that the Jews should give a half-shekel as “atonement for their souls,” Moshe was amazed. He could not comprehend how giving a coin, a material entity, could bring atonement for a soul which is “truly a part of G‑d from above.”

G‑d responded by showing Moshe, “a coin of fire... from below His throne,” and telling him, “This is what they should give.” G‑d informed Moshe that the coin the Jews would be giving would not be merely a material coin, but rather, “a coin of fire... from below His throne.”

This does not mean merely that the source for this coin was spiritual, or merely that through the fulfillment of mitzvos, the Jews have the potential of drawing down spiritual power (fire) into their fulfillment of the mitzvos. But rather, that there is a potential for a complete unity between the physical and the spiritual. Even as the coin exists within the contexts of this material world, it remains “a coin of fire... from below His throne,” there is no change in its nature.

G‑d showed Moshe this “coin of fire,” implying that this unity between spirituality and physicality is only possible through G‑d’s influence. G‑d, Himself, established the different levels of existence and thus, He has the potential to nullify the factors that differentiate one level from another and fuse the spiritual together with the physical.

[Based on this explanation, we see how the coins given by the Jewish people have an advantage over the “a coin of fire... from below His throne.” The coin of fire represents a very high spiritual level. It is, nevertheless, confined to that level alone. The coin given by the Jews in this physical world, reflects G‑d’s essence which transcends all spiritual levels.]2

Thus, parshas Ki Sisa teaches us that the union between the spiritual and the physical that was brought about by the giving of the Torah and which was manifest in the Sanctuary, does not merely imply that a ray of the spiritual will become revealed within the physical, but rather, that the unity between them can be complete and total.

Parshas Vayakhel adds a further dimension to this process. The previous parshiyos deal with G‑d’s command to Moshe to construct a Sanctuary. Parshas Vayakhel mentions Moshe’s relaying this command to the Jews and their fulfillment of it. Thus, it describes the actual service of creating a dwelling for G‑d in this material world.

There is an added aspect to this parshah. Vayakhel means, “And he gathered together.” The establishment of Jewish unity was a necessary precondition to the construction of the Sanctuary. The Sanctuary was not merely the product of the combined efforts of many people, but rather the product of the Jewish people as a collective entity. When a donation was made to the Sanctuary, the money or article donated belonged to the community as a whole. As a preparation for this service, the Jewish people had to be gathered together and fused into a single entity.

Parshas Pekudei contributes another important element for it represents the summation of the narrative of the construction of the Sanctuary. It describes how the Sanctuary was actually erected and how G‑d caused His Presence to rest therein: “And the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting and the glory of G‑d filled up the Sanctuary.”

This leads to an even further dimension of service contributed by parshas Vayikra: The portion begins describing how G‑d called to Moshe. Parshas Pekudei related that, because of the intensity of the revelation of G‑d’s essence, Moshe was unable to enter the Sanctuary. Parshas Vayikra relates how G‑d called to him and made it possible for him to receive this revelation.

Furthermore, parshas Vayikra describes the service of offering sacrifices. This represents the purpose of the building of the Sanctuary.3 The Hebrew word for “sacrifice,” korban, is related to the word kerov, meaning “close.” The sacrifices drew the material essence of the world4 close to G‑d and also evoked pleasure, creating, “a pleasant fragrance unto G‑d,” for “it is pleasing before Me that I uttered a command and My will was done.”5

The lessons from the above must be applied to our own service. Their continuous relevance is further emphasized by the fact that the command, “And you shall make Me a Sanctuary and I shall dwell within,” did not apply to the construction of the Sanctuary alone. Instead, it also applied to the construction of the first and second Batei HaMikdash and applies to the third Bais HaMikdash which will be constructed speedily in our days.

The third Bais HaMikdash will be “the Sanctuary of G‑d, established by Your hands,” and thus will be — unlike the first and second Batei HaMikdash — an eternal structure. It will represent the most complete expression of the unity between the physical and the spiritual and the ultimate expression of all the lessons contributed by each of the parshiyos mentioned above.

This is particularly relevant in our generation. Throughout the ages, the Jews have yearned for the coming of Mashiach and the rebuilding of the Bais HaMikdash. This yearning has been expressed in the study of the service required in the Bais HaMikdash so that when the Bais HaMikdash is rebuilt, we will be prepared and will know the laws necessary to begin its service.

Efforts of this nature are particularly appropriate in the present era when, “all the appointed times for Mashiach’s coming have passed,” and according to all the signs given by our sages, we are in the era directly before Mashiach’s coming. Our generation will be the last generation of exile and the first generation of redemption.

In particular, at present, when the weekly Torah portions describe the construction of the Sanctuary, it is appropriate — in addition to one’s efforts to transform his own home into a sanctuary in microcosm — to arouse the desire for the Messianic redemption and the building of the Bais HaMikdash.

This should also be expressed in actual deeds which reflect in microcosm — and thus hasten the coming of — the Messianic redemption. This includes study of the laws of the construction of the Bais HaMikdash and the service carried out within and also, activities which make the world into a dwelling for G‑d, by establishing a connection between G‑d and the material world through the fulfillment of mitzvos.6 This prepares the world for the era when it will become transformed into a dwelling for G‑d with the coming of the Messianic redemption and the revelation of the third Bais HaMikdash.

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3. Added significance to the above is added within the Lubavitch community by the fact that this week, Shabbos parshas Terumah falls on the sixth of Adar, the yahrzeit of the Rashag (Rav Shemaryahu Gourarie), the Previous Rebbe’s son-in-law, and the person appointed by the Previous Rebbe to be the director of Yeshivas Tomchei Temimim.

A yahrzeit represents a drastic ascent for the soul.7 This ascent, however, also draws down influence to this earthly plane and in particular, to those who shared a connection with the person whose yahrzeit it is (in this instance, the students of Yeshivas Tomchei Temimim).

This, the directorship of Yeshivas Tomchei Temimim represented the Rashag’s primary activity. He acted with the power invested in him by the Previous Rebbe, the first director of the yeshivah, who was appointed to that position by the Rebbe Rashab, the founder of the yeshivah. We see the fruits of his efforts, a multitude of students involved in the study of Torah (nigleh and chassidus8 ) and spreading the wellsprings of Judaism and Chassidus outward.

These efforts are related to the concepts described above since every yeshivah is “a Sanctuary in microcosm” and their activities cause the light to shine in an internalized and settled9 manner as it will in the Messianic Bais HaMikdash. In particular, there is a connection to the Messianic era, since the students of Tomchei Temimim are characterized as “soldiers of the House of David,” “candles to illuminate” the darkness of exile and hasten the coming of Mashiach.

In particular, the unity of the physical and spiritual which characterized the Sanctuary and its service is also reflected in the fusion of nigleh and chassidus as studied in the yeshivah. Nigleh, the revealed aspects of Torah, is related to those aspects of G‑dliness which are revealed through creation. Pnimiyus HaTorah, the soul of Torah, is related to the hidden dimensions of G‑dliness, the G‑dliness which transcends creation.

The fusion of these two branches of study in Yeshivas Tomchei Temimim,10 brings about a unification of the hidden aspects of Torah and the hidden aspects of G‑d with the revealed aspects of G‑d and Torah. This, in turn, generates the potential for the students of the yeshivah to become “candles to illuminate,” who spread the light of Torah (Pnimiyus HaTorah) throughout the world. This makes it possible to “kindle a continuous light,” to reveal the “candle of G‑d which is the soul of man” in every Jew. This will illuminate the entire world and make it a dwelling for G‑d. Through the spreading of Chassidus, even the highest dimensions of G‑dliness will be revealed in the world at large.

The above is also connected with the ninth of Adar on which, this year, we will celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Previous Rebbe’s arrival in America. Directly upon his arrival in this country, the Previous Rebbe transferred the central branch of Yeshivas Tomchei Temimim here. The establishment of the yeshivah in America is significant in the context of the statement, “the Torah was not given in lower half of the world.” Though, on the surface, establishing the Yeshivah in a place where “the Torah was not given,” represents a descent, this descent brought about an increase in the Previous Rebbe’s activities. Indeed, it is clearly evident that from the time the Previous Rebbe settled in the United States, his activities in spreading Yiddishkeit were expanded to a far greater extent.

The service associated with Tomchei Temimim is also reflected in the Rashag’s name, Shemaryahu ben Menachem Mendel. The name Shemaryahu (שמרי-הו) contains three of the letters of the word Neshamah (נשמה “soul”). The fourth letter, the nun, can be formed by placing the letter yud at the foot of the letter vav. This is related to Pnimiyus HaTorah, “the soul of the Torah.” This name is also connected with the Messianic redemption as evidenced by the fact that it contains a mem in its midst.11

The connection to the Messianic redemption is also emphasized by the name, ben Menachem Mendel. Our Sages relate that Menachem is one of Mashiach’s names and Mendel is numerically equivalent to Tzedek which is also one of the Mashiach’s names. In this context, the word “ben” should be interpreted as a definition of the individual’s nature as in the expression, ben chorin and not translated in its simple sense as meaning, the “son of.” Thus, “ben Menachem Mendel” alludes to one whose nature is characterized by the efforts to [spread Chassidus which will] bring about Mashiach’s coming.

Today is also the day preceding the seventh of Adar, the birthday and the yahrzeit of Moshe. Moshe is associated with Torah, indeed the entire Torah, both the written and oral law, is described as “the Torah of Moshe” and also with the Sanctuary.

Thus, it is appropriate that we make an increase in Torah study, in particular, an increase in the efforts to “gather people together on Shabbos to study Torah,” which was initiated by Moshe. Also, it should be connected with the efforts to make “a Sanctuary in microcosm,” as reflected by in an increase in Torah and mitzvos, and in particular, an increase in gifts to tzedakah.

In regard to the students of Tomchei Temimim, they should increase their study of Torah, both nigleh and chassidus and also increase their efforts to be “candles that illuminate” and spread the light of Chassidus throughout the world. [In this context, it is appropriate that a Chassidic discourse which deals with the Messianic era and the concept of resurrection be printed in memory of the Rashag.]

May these efforts hasten the coming of the Messianic redemption when we will serve G‑d in the third Bais HaMikdash, “the sanctuary of G‑d, established by Your hands.”