2 Adar 5768, 8 February 2008 Mark Burger
Passages in Torah that get into heavy detail tend to be overlooked in the more liberal circles of Judaism. Besides the focus on minutae, there is a sense of the details conveying a sense of exclusivity. It has to be done this exact way by an elect person or persons, or it’s not acceptable or even dangerous. Details of rituals such as the High Priest intoning the word of God in the Inner Sanctuary on the Day of Atonement reinforce this belief.
One can believe that, or one can look at it another way. The details are meant as a template that can be done by anyone willing to undergo the effort, and spelled out in detail that does not require a special authority or intermediary to interpret it. The Ark is meant as a gift, “Terumah” to God, and a place where Our Creator may dwell. It is transitory and to be borne in a journey, such as life is meant to be.
But the ability to replicate is a singular benefit of this passage, as is the ability to replicate scripture and the ability to replicate temples and other places as sanctuaries. Each of you has the opportunity to take part in this replication, both daily and on special occasions. On March 14-16, the Oak Park Temple Retreat in Wisconsin will feature a “Build the Ark” exercise, as well as other wonderful opportunities to pray, study and socialize. Find out more at the Temple office. You can get a glimpse of the same wonderful feeling of building the Ark that was experienced by our ancestors thousands of years ago. You can help provide a sanctuary for God to dwell in, as well as a sanctuary for your own heart and soul. Amen.