Parashat Terumah 5783

February 20, 2023

Click HERE for an audio recording of this D’var Torah The Impermanence of the Natural world and the Eternity of God’s Presence A D’var Torah for Parashat Terumah By Rabbi Mitchell Blank (’21) As I write these words, the death toll has risen to over 36,000 and tens of thousands more have been injured, let alone the untold number who have become homeless and penniless. Life on earth is truly fragile and it’s sad that only violent tragedies such as the recent earthquake centered in Turkey and Syria seem to be able to wake us up to the reality of the impermanence of it all. In these moments, we cry out to God: Where are you?! Yet, we know that this apparent absence of the Divine is beyond our comprehension. In better times, we can occasionally feel God’s presence. We acknowledge this natural oscillation in our understanding of God in the Kedushah for Musaf: “God’s glory fills the...

Read more >

Parashat Terumah 5782

February 4, 2022

Click HERE for an audio recording of this D’var Torah A D’var Torah for Parashat Terumah By Rabbi Doug Alpert (’12) My original D’var Torah which I wrote on Sunday afternoon appears below. However, on Sunday evening many in our AJR community gathered (via Zoom) to share memories of our teacher, Rabbi Yitzchak Mann z”l. Dr. Ora Horn Prouser as our teacher and Academic Dean shared a D’var Torah which, like my D’var Torah referenced the poles of the Ark contained within the Mishkan – our Holy Tabernacle. With that experience I would feel remiss if I did not dedicate this D’var Torah to the memory of Rabbi Mann. As it was said on Sunday evening, Rabbi Mann was not only an extraordinary teacher of Torah, but someone who through his gentle and generous spirit lived Torah. So how did I draw the short straw. In its droning on and on with instructions for building the...

Read more >

Parashat Terumah 5781

February 19, 2021

Click HERE for an audio recording of this D’var Torah A D’var Torah for Parashat Terumah and Shabbat Zakhor By Rabbi Marc Rudolph (’04) This week I want to share a D’var Torah from the collection of Divrei Torah known as Aish Kodesh, or Holy Fire. The Piacezna Rebbe, Rabbi Kolonymous Shapira, wrote these between 1939 and 1942 while confined in the Warsaw Ghetto. The particular D’var Torah I am about to summarize was written on January 27, 1940. The superscript informs us that on this Sabbath he was forced into hiding. He begins by citing Ex 18:1. “Jethro heard all about what G-d had done….” Rashi’s commentary on this says that Jethro heard specifically about the Splitting of the Red Sea and the battle with Amalek. But, the Rebbe asks, why would Rashi need to say this? After all, the text itself says that Jethro “heard about all that...

Read more >

Parashat Terumah 5780

February 28, 2020

A D’var Torah for Parashat Terumah By Rabbi David Markus Sometimes it’s what Torah doesn’t say. Listen to Torah’s silence and she might reveal whole new worlds just waiting for you to hear them into being. With this week’s Parashat Terumah, Torah begins describing how Moses, Betzalel and their team will build the Mishkan. Chapter after detailed chapter, Torah specifies the metals, fabrics, dimensions, shapes, colors and vessels of the Indwelling Place in which our wandering ancestors would channel and receive the sacred. Torah’s architectural design and building instructions were explicit, nuanced and exacting… … except for the two kruvim adorning the Holy of Holies. It’s easy, God says: just pop ’em on top. “Make two kruvim of gold, make them of hammered work, at the two ends of the cover. Make one kruv on one end, and one kruv on the other end…. The kruvim will stretch their wings above, covering the cover with their wings, and each face will front...

Read more >

Parashat Terumah 5779

February 8, 2019

A D’var Torah for Parashat Terumah By Cantor Sandy Horowitz (’14) V’asu li mikdash v’shakhanti b’tokham “And they shall make for Me a sanctuary and I will dwell in their midst” Exodus 25:8 Some people require periods of solitude in order to best function in the world. In fact, self-chosen solitude is generally considered to be beneficial, particularly in today’s increasingly social-media-run, group-conscious culture. And although our biblical ancestors obviously didn’t have cellphones or Twitter accounts as they wandered in the wilderness, the conditions of their lifestyle – being constantly surrounded by hundreds of thousands of people — similarly was not conducive to seeking solitude. Two weeks ago in the Torah portion Yitro, we read about how the Israelite people stood together in fear and awe as God’s laws were revealed to them; had I been there, I imagine I would not be the only one in need of some alone-time so...

Read more >