D’var Torah— A reflection in poetry

Rabbi James Stone Goodman

By Rabbi James Stone Goodman

Parashat Terumah

Make [of] Me a Mikdash/holy place

and I will dwell


within them

– Exodus 25:8

The Zohar understands the Sanctuary as a place where two worlds are unified. It is built out of terumah, which is read by many from a Hebrew root which means to lift up.

The Zohar reads terumah from an Aramaic root which means two.

All the terrible twos of existence are reconciled in the Sanctuary, the emblem of the meeting of the worlds, the upper and lower worlds.

Now let us imagine inner an outer rather than upper and lower. G-d says: build it, and I will dwell within them, not within it, but within them.

In the inner space, in the soul, that’s where I will come to rest.

Everything has a dual nature.

Wholeness, she-lei-mut, comes through the vehicle of blessing.

The power of the upper root descends -Sefat Emet on Noach

Shalom is a vessel that contains blessing -Sefat emet on Pekudei

In every place where G-d dwells there is wholeness.-Sefat Emet on Sukkot

Wholeness, she-lei-mut [shalom] comes through the vehicle of blessing. It is the inner point of truth.


the first objectification of the spirit

build the place out of Me

Make [of] Me a Mikdash/holy place

and I will dwell [Shakhanti/Shekhinah]

within them. [Ex. 25:8]

The holy place

the union of two worlds

build it out of terumah

from the Aramaic root for two, [Zohar]

All the terrible twos of existence

integrated in the holy place-

the beit k’nesset

house of meeting.

The Holy One is always delighted

when we storm the upper worlds

and take the Shekhinah to dwell among us.

New souls

new souls all around.

Build your palaces

raise all the money you can

decorate well

but I will set my spirit

in the inner chambers of the heart-

I want your heart, G*d says,

that’s all I’ve ever wanted.

– Rabbi James Stone Goodman of

Congregation Neve Shalom.

Something else: Terumah also has the sense of “to be lifted up”

or to lift up from root R-O-M.

Take a quiet time within, said Blue. Find a way to integrate a formerly two-notion

Into a one-notion

Unify: This is your terumah