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26 Old Mill Road, Great Neck, NY 11023 (516) 487-6100                                                              Shabbat Announcements Terumah 5780
         Where did it come from, this world-changing idea? It did   If the concept of the Mishkan, the Tabernacle, is that God
         not come from the Temple, but rather from the much   lives in the human heart whenever it opens itself
         earlier institution described in this week’s parsha: the   unreservedly to heaven, then its physical location is
         Tabernacle. Its essence was that it was portable, made up   irrelevant. Thus, the way was open, seven centuries later,
         of beams and hangings that could be dismantled and   to the synagogue: the supreme statement of the idea that
         carried by the Levites as the Israelites journeyed through   if God is everywhere, He can be reached anywhere. I find it
         the wilderness. The Tabernacle, a temporary structure,   moving that the frail structure described in this week’s
         turned out to have permanent influence, whereas the   parsha became the inspiration of an institution that, more
         Temple, intended to be permanent, proved to be temporary  than any other, kept the Jewish people alive through
         – until, as we pray daily, it is rebuilt. More significant than   almost two thousand years of dispersion – the longest of all
         the physical structure of the Tabernacle was its     journeys through the wilderness.
         metaphysical structure. The very idea that one can build a
         home for God seems absurd. It was all too easy to
         understand the concept of sacred space in a polytheistic
         worldview. The gods were half-human. They had places
         where they could be encountered. Monotheism tore this
         idea up at its roots, nowhere more eloquently than in Psalm
         139: Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee
         from Your presence? If I go up to the heavens, You are   TODAY, FEB. 24TH IS THE DEADLINE FOR
         there; If I make my bed in the depths, You are there.   ORDERING SISTERHOOD PURIM PACKAGES!
         Hence the question asked by Israel’s wisest King, Solomon:
         “But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the
         highest heaven, cannot contain You. How much less this
         temple I have built!” (I Kings 8:27). The same question is
         posed in the name of God by one of Israel’s greatest
         prophets, Isaiah: Heaven is My throne, and the earth is My
         footstool. Where is the house you will build for Me? Where
         will My resting place be? (Isaiah 66:1)
         The very concept of making a home in finite space for an
         infinite presence seems a contradiction in terms. The
         answer, still astonishing in its profundity, is contained at
         the beginning of this week’s parsha: “They shall make a
         Sanctuary for Me, and I will dwell in them [betokham]”
         (Exodus 25:8). The Jewish mystics pointed out the linguistic
         strangeness of this sentence. It should have said, “I will
         dwell in it,” not “I will dwell in them.” The answer is that
         the Divine Presence lives not in a building but in its
         builders; not in a physical place but in the human heart.
         The Sanctuary was not a place in which the objective
         existence of God was somehow more concentrated than
         elsewhere. Rather, it was a place whose holiness had the
         effect of opening hearts to the One worshipped there. God
         exists everywhere, but not everywhere do we feel the
         presence of God in the same way. The essence of “the holy”
         is that it is a place where we set aside all human devices
         and desires and enter a domain wholly set aside for God.

                              Great Neck Synagogue
                     26 Old Mill Road, Great Neck , NY 11023
                                  516-487-6100

                         Rabbi Dale Polakoff, Rabbi
                      Rabbi Ian Lichter, Assistant Rabbi
                       Rabbi Aron White, Intern Rabbi
                    Dr. Ephraim Wolf, z”l, Rabbi Emeritus
                           Yitzy Spinner, Cantor
                    Eleazer Schulman, z”l, Cantor Emeritus
                     Rabbi Sholom Jensen, Youth Director
                  Zehava & Dr. Michael Atlas, Youth Directors
                      Mark Twersky, Executive Director
                     Dr. James Frisch, Assistant Director
                          Erran Kagan, President
                   Harold Domnitch, Chairman of the Board
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