Often the name of the parashah gives us an indication of what the parasha will be discussing. This week’s parasha is called Terumah, which is normally translated as portion or donation. The word תרומה, however, is from the root word רום, meaning uplifted. When the Jewish People donated towards the Mishkan, they were uplifted. Indeed, the Gemara (Bava Basra 10b) states אמר משה לפני הקב”ה רבש”ע במה תרום קרן ישראל אמר לו בכי תשא, Moshe said before HaShem, “with what will the horn of the Jewish People be elevated?” HaShem responded, “with Ki Sisa,” i.e. with the donations to the Mishkan.
We can take this concept of elevation further, as Shlomo HaMelech, upon completing the construction of the first Bais HaMikdash, declared, (Melachim I 8:27) כִּי הַאֻמְנָם יֵשֵׁב אֱלֹהִים עַל הָאָרֶץ הִנֵּה הַשָּׁמַיִם וּשְׁמֵי הַשָּׁמַיִם לֹא יְכַלְכְּלוּךָ אַף כִּי הַבַּיִת הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר בָּנִיתִי, “would G-d truly dwell on earth? Behold, the heavens and the highest heavens cannot contain You, and surely not this Temple that I have built.” Why does Shlomo HaMelech mention the highest heavens? Perhaps the idea is that the simple function of the Mishkan was to allow for a resting place for the Divine Presence. However, the goal of a Jew in this world is to elevate his surroundings and become elevated himself.
The Gemara (Shabbos 88b) uses the expression בשעה שעלה משה למרום, when Moshe ascended on high. Where did Moshe go? The Gemara elsewhere (Sukkah 5a) states that man never ascended higher than ten tefachim. Perhaps the Gemara in Shabbos is teaching us that while Moshe may not have gotten too far “off the ground,” in his pursuit of spirituality he indeed did ascend upon high. Thus, while the Mishkan appears to be a repository for the Divine Presence here on earth, in the words of Shlomo HaMelech, “would G-d truly dwell on earth? Behold, the heavens and the highest heavens cannot contain You, and surely not this Temple that I have built.” HaShem dwells on earth, so to speak, to allow us to ascend heavenward, and even the sky is not the limit. it is said (Tehillim 115:16) הַשָּׁמַיִם שָׁמַיִם לַה וְהָאָרֶץ נָתַן לִבְנֵי אָדָם, as for the heavens, the heavens are HaShem’s; but the earth He has given to mankind. The Kotzker Rebbe interpreted this to mean that the job of man is to turn earth into heaven. Thus, the function of the Mishkan, and everything “on this earth” is to transcend the physicality and ascend heavenward.
HaShem should allow us in this new month of Adar to transcend our physical limitations and soar upward, elevating ourselves and our surroundings, and then the horn of the Jewish People will be elevated with the arrival of Moshiach Tzikdeinu, speedily, in our days.
Have an Elevated Shabbos and an Uplifting Chodesh Adar!