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    No holy places – T’rumah

    Depiction of the Mishkan, Foster Bible Pictures, 1897

    The most famous sentence in the sidra is HaShem’s command, “Let them make Me a sanctuary and I will dwell in their midst” (Ex. 25:8).

    Everybody knows the rabbinic commentary that says though HaShem wants a sanctuary His intention is to dwell amongst the people.

    The building would be called a sanctuary, a mikdash, but it would only be holy so long as the people who assembled there were holy. The Divine Presence was not in a building but in the builders.

    In the same way we have holy days but it is not the days as such which are holy but the people who observe them.

    In modern times when, Baruch HaShem, we have Jerusalem, what is holy is not the city but the people. We attach a great fanfare to the so-called holy sites, but they are only holy when people come there and take part in holy activities.

    We say that a Jewish home is mikdash me’at, a minor sanctuary, but even though a Jewish home is said to be sacred, what really is sacred is the family that has a Jewish heart, mind and soul.

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