South Side Effect: Terumah 2022

by Adam J. Rosenbaum

Pre-Game Chatter: Are there parts of your home that just feel “right” to you? Do you have a favorite chair, or a preferred side of the couch? How do you know when you’ve reached a state of maximum comfort?

As God meticulously details the dimensions of the Tabernacle, something might be learned from the order of the instructions:

The Pitch: “You shall make the enclosure of the Tabernacle: On the south side, a hundred cubits of hangings of fine twisted linen for the length of the enclosure on that side—” – Exodus 27:9

Swing #1: “[Moses] has surely all along been God’s agent for instructing the people in all the details of the building of the Mishkan … the verbs in the previous chapters place Moses squarely at the center of the action.” – Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg, The Particulars of Rapture: Reflections on Exodus

Swing #2: “Whenever the Torah lists the directions, the sequence is: east, west, north, south. One of the reasons why south is sometimes mentioned last is the fact that the south is relatively uninhabited due to its being very hot.” – Rabbeinu Bahya

Swing #3: “Whoever sanctifies himself and is on guard against defilement in this world will find his dwelling in the next world among the celestial holy beings who eternally carry forth the missions (of God). They stand by in the [enclosure].” –  Zohar

Late-Inning Questions: What do you make of our commentators trying to describe why the south side of the Tabernacle has special aspects? Why is it important for God to attribute meaning to every space in the Tabernacle? Must we put together every inch of a home with intention? Or is home simply where you hang your hat (or kippah)?

On-Deck at TBT: Our Kesher Committee is co-sponsoring a Winter Clothing Drive with the Buffalo Jewish Community Relations Council to benefit the International Rescue Committee Welcome Center in its ongoing effort to welcome and aid refugees. Support this initiative by dropping off new or gently-used items this Sunday, February 6th, between 2:00-4:00 p.m. at TBT, or by bringing the items here during office hours by Thursday, February 10th, or bringing or sending a donation to TBT (subject: Kesher Coat Drive).

The Big Inning at the End: Speaking of the details of a home, I’ve been fascinated with how teams such as MLB’s Cleveland Guardians and the NFL’s Washington Commanders went about creating new brands for themselves. In both cases, the organizations perseverated over every aspect of the new name, logo, and uniforms. But it’s impossible to think of everything; I’m sure it won’t be long before snarky fans refer to the Guardians as the “Guardians of the Galaxy” and the Commanders as the “Commies.”

Shabbat Shalom!