Serve Only Hashem

Rabbi Reuven Mann

This week’s parsha, Teruma, describes the building of the Mishkan, which was designed to be the “Dwelling place of G-d.”  One should not impute any material qualities to the Creator and thus should not imagine that G-d literally resides in any location.  One must always remember that G-d exists outside the realm of time and space.  The Torah speaks in the language of man so that its message should penetrate his heart.  The Mishkan was the designated place where Hashem would “manifest His Presence” and providential protection of the Jewish people.  The physical structure of the Mishkan did not by itself guarantee G-d’s presence.  Hashem said “And they shall make for me a Tabernacle and I will dwell among them.”  Rashi elucidates this verse saying, “They shall dedicate it to my name as a House of Holiness.”  There are two very important ideas contained in this Rashi.  The Mishkan must be consecrated to His name, which represents the authentic idea of G-d that is unique to the Jewish people.  We must divest ourselves of any false notions of G-d, which stem from the idolatrous emotions of man.  A key aspect of our Emunah (faith) is the affirmation that “He is our G-d there is no other.”  We can’t put our faith in any other being even if we believe in Hashem as well.  We must worship Him exclusively and not believe that any person no matter how holy or object no matter how sacred can achieve anything for us in our time of need.  We must cultivate a pure Emunah in which we turn only to Hashem for all of our needs and desires. 

This trust in Hashem also means that we must serve Him only in the manner in which He has instructed us.  We must adhere to faithful performance of His mitzvot and not add to or subtract from them.  The ideal of meticulous adherence to the exact commands of Hashem, is expressed in the very construction of the Mishkan.  The Torah goes into all of the most intricate details pertaining to the building of this Holy House.  Why is it necessary for scripture to enumerate all the particulars of this project?  Hashem instructed Moshe to proceed, “In accordance with all that I show you, the form of the Tabernacle and the form of its vessels, so shall you make it.”  In describing the actual construction of the Mishkan the Pasuk states that the Jews “did all of the work in accordance with all that the L—d commanded Moshe, “ and then tells us that “Moshe beheld their work and indeed they had made it exactly according to all that Hashem commanded Moshe and Moshe blessed them.”  Says Rashi, “He said to them, ‘may it be His will to bestow His presence on the work of your Hands.’”  The most important element in erecting the Mishkan was absolute dedication to following every instruction of Hashem, with no deviation.  There is much that we can learn from this.  Our task is to serve Hashem in faithfulness without recourse to “strange, unauthorized practices” which He did not mandate.  This is a very relevant message for our times.  There are many charms, amulets, incantations and other “segulot” which have made inroads in some sections of the religious community.  In times of stress there is a temptation to give in to our desire for lucky charms and magical solutions.  We must have true faith in Hashem and resist these deviationist practices and serve Him exclusively according to the mitzvot He has revealed to us.  May we elevate ourselves to serve Hashem in true faithfulness and merit that “His presence should dwell in the works of our hands.”

Shabbat Shalom