Shabbat shalom. My name is Jack, and, to be honest, I spend most of my time playing video games or being on the internet. Don’t get me wrong, I spend a good amount of time outside or reading, but I seem to have the most fun messing around with my friends on the computer. I love to spend time with my parents; Seeing a movie with my dad, or reading and conversing with my mom, spending time with the ones I truly love is the greatest, most fulfilling thing I do.
My parashah is Terumah, which is about the instructions of making the Mishkan, God’s holy dwelling place for the people of Israel. God, on Mount Sinai, told Moses to instruct the people of Israel to gather thirteen materials. Gold, silver, dyes of various colors, oils, copper, spices, and gems. This was the community directly giving the materials needed to be able to construct a portable praying house for god to dwell in. For God to be with Benei Yisrael.
Inside the Mishkan was the beautifully crafted holy ark containing the two tablets with the ten commandments inscribed upon them. On the outside of the ark were two winged Cherubim which were to be hammered out of pure gold, and had to be beautiful. The golden menorah laid not far from the Ark and was also beautifully crafted out of the finest gold Benei Yisrael had to offer. The only person permitted inside of the Mishkan was Aaron, the highest priest, and he was only allowed to be inside of the Mishkan on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year, to worship and pray to god. Nobody else was allowed to even view the inside of god’s home.
Then, go a layer outside the Mishkan. The walls of the Mishkan were upheld with silver foundations, and held together with a silver pole, to stop from collapsing in the event of a hurricane, sandstorm, earthquake, etcetera. One more layer outside the Mishkan and we see that the sacrificial altar and the laver outside of the walls of the Mishkan were made of bronze. The outer walls of the praying and sacrificial grounds had posts made of wood and were strewn together with linen.
The Mishkan is similar to a person in today’s times and all throughout history. We all have our bronze on the outside, what we want everybody to see, what we want people to think of us. As mentioned earlier, I spend a lot of time on the internet, and most of the time on the internet you only get to see the bronze, what people want to be seen as. However, if you go a layer inside, we have what is our silver part, what only our friends and family see. This is our thoughts, what we believe, what we like and dislike. In my life, it is rare to know someone’s silver. I think I know of maybe fifty people’s silvers, out of the billions of people on this planet.
Our silvers are the shell around our gold, which are the thoughts nobody can see, nobody knows of, and are indescribable to anybody but the person who houses them, and sometimes even a person does not know their own gold. The only other entity that can view our gold, the only other thing that can see the true us… is god. There is a part of god in all of us, from the time we are born onward, that houses our true inspirations, thoughts, and beliefs. This part of us that only god knows of, is our gold. Our Mishkan.
In society today, people are getting more comfortable with showing their silver and parts of their gold to other people. In other times people who were different were sent to jail, burned at the stake, discriminated against, or even worse. But if you look around at today’s world and how lucky we are to live in a time more understanding and more accepting of the people who are of other races, other sexualities, and other genders, you realize how much the world has changed.
The standard used to be that the only people who were accepted were “normal.” The people who only showed their bronzes didn’t ever dare to show their silvers, and who wouldn’t even think to be real to the community and even to themselves. However, even with all the progress, we have made, there is still a lot of progress to be made. In recent events, terrorism has lead to racism and worse throughout countries like America where the sole purpose is to be free. While freedom reins and yes it’s great, there have still been recent discriminations in the news toward those who are of certain minority groups, including, sadly, the Jews.
I hope that we can learn more to accept people’s silver and maybe even their golds in the future. That way we can make sure that the Mishkan is remembered in today’s times.