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The Money Pit And Parshah Terumah

14 Feb 2024 2:24 PM | Franklin Jester (Administrator)

By Solomon Moon  

And let them make Me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them.” --Exodus 25:8  

This week’s parshah has a verse that speaks to me in a loving way. That sanctuary Adonai instructed the  Israelites to build was lavish. But it was to be made so that the Divine could be in a more intimate  relationship with them. It reminds me of the film, The Money Pit, a story about a couple trying to repair a  home that keeps falling apart. Parshah Terumah leaves me with one question: What is your sanctuary?  

In the film, Walter and Anna buy a house that is in dire need of repairs before it can become a livable  home. Unfortunately, their relationship takes a turn for the worse. It seems as though as the house falls  apart, so too does their relationship. Or perhaps, it’s the other way around.  

This sanctuary that we have been asked to construct isn’t just the one that housed the physical stone  tablets. It can be our home, our way of life, our minds, our relationships. Wherever the Divine can dwell  among us, there can we build Them a sanctuary to have a deeper relationship with Them. Even when  those things seem to be falling apart, there’s a lesson to learn from the film.  

The Money Pit has a wonderful teaching about life and love. After the house was restored, Walter and  Anna, who are now separated, were given some sage reassurance. “[The] foundation was good… and if  that's okay, then everything else can be fixed.” The contractor was speaking about the home. However, it  ironically applies to Walter and Anna’s relationship as well. But what is this “good foundation” in our  lives?  

The sanctuary that the Israelites built was home to the Ten Commandments. The first two commandments  remind us to love G-d and to love your neighbor. Rebbe Hillel interpreted this to mean, “That which is  hateful to you, do not do unto others.” In other words, love is a verb. More than a feeling, it is a choice to  build a home, a life, or a relationship with another. Rabbi Zalman goes a step further. When asked which  of the first two commandments were greater, he responded: “Love your neighbor because then you love  what G-d loves.”  

Love is a beautiful foundation, but it’s rarely an easy one to build on. In all of Life’s seasons, love will be  tested. There will be times of emotional separation or distance created between you and your loved ones. 

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