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    Show day – T’rumah

    Depiction of the kohanim replacing the “lechem hapanim” in the Temple

    Many cities have a major event called the… Show. The motivation is to show or display the products and culture of the particular place.

    I’m not about to argue that the whole idea derives from the Jewish Bible, though I guess that argument is possible. But what I do want to do is to ask a question about a feature of this week’s Torah reading which is the installation in the sanctuary of what in English has come to be called showbread.

    The Hebrew is lechem hapanim. Lechem of course means “bread”; panim means a face or presence. The translators are not quite certain why panim has some connection with bread. Rashi has an explanation which suggests that panim means “surfaces”; the loaves of bread had several surfaces so that one couldn’t say, “This is the top of the loaf” or “this is the base”.

    Ibn Ezra links the word to God, since the verse (Ex. 25:30) ends by commanding that the bread be “before Me constantly”. Presumably this means that the gift of bread is one of the greatest signs of God’s activity in the world. As the blessing for bread reminds us, “God brings forth bread from the earth”.

    How do we know there is a God? We see it from His creative, generous activity.

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