Chim Chim Cherub: Terumah 2023

by Adam J. Rosenbaum

Pre-Game Chatter: How often do your memories depend on a specific location you can picture in your mind? Over time, does that picture evolve into something that you wish was accurate but probably wasn’t?

As God describes the Israelites’ new building project, God has a very specific location where Moses should report:

The Pitch: “There I will meet with you, and I will impart to you — from above the cover, from between the two cherubim that are on top of the Ark of the Pact — all that I will command you concerning the Israelite people.” – Exodus 25:22

Swing #1: “In a culture so repelled by idolatry, how startling to find these graven images inhabiting the innermost sanctum of holy space! And in a religion so hostile to dualism, how intriguing to find two such images embracing each other to make up!” – Ellen Frankel, Ph.D., The Five Books of Miriam

Swing #2: “The wings of the cherubim, outstretched from either side above the ark will constitute the bottom of a sacred zone (or throne, one might say), the very spot set off for God’s presence. He will not be present there in a statue; He will not exist inside any form. But He will be there, or will be able to be there, in the empty space above the outstretched wings of the cherubim.” – James L. Kugel, The God of Old: Inside the Lost World of the Bible

Swing #3: “Could these two cherubim serve as a model for others? If they are able to face one another as loving equals, then a relationship to God becomes possible. If they turn away from each other, then the Presence of God becomes impossible. The palpable Presence of God depends on a loving, trusting relationship between God’s creatures.” – Sheldon Lewis, Torah of Reconciliation

Late-Inning Questions: Why do you think the space between the cherubim is God’s choice to hold meetings with Moses? How does the description of these winged beings indicate God’s priorities? What places invoke feelings of confidence and power?

On-Deck at TBT: Purim will be here before you know it! See he synagogue’s website for information about our festivities, including our Just Another Manic Megillah reading on Monday, March 6th.

The Big Inning at the End: Speaking of statues, I may have mentioned this before, but I’m not a big fan of the recent trend of building statues around stadiums that depict images of a team’s famous players, coaches, or other personnel. Maybe it’s because I was raised as a Jew. Or, maybe it’s because it’s too early to memorialize players that I’ve seen play live. Or … maybe I just don’t like statues.

Shabbat Shalom!