Weekly Scripture Commentary

Shabbat Parashat Terumah

With the exception of the incident of the Golden Calf, the rest of the Book of Shemot is devoted to the preparation for and construction of the Mishkan, or the Tabernacle [literally, the Dwelling Place].

This Parashah starts with Yehovah instructing Moshe regarding the taking of an offering from the people for the construction of the Mishkan, its utensils and the priestly garments: “And Yehovah spoke to Moshe, saying, ‘Speak to the people of Israel, and let them take for Me a portion; from every man that gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My portion. And this is the offering which you shall take from them; gold, and silver, and bronze, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats’ hair, and rams’ skins dyed red, and goats’ skins, and shittim wood, oil for the light, spices for the anointing oil, and for sweet incense, onyx stones, and stones to be set on the ephod, and on the breastplate. And let them make Me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.’” Shemot 25:1-8

This passage seemingly presents a bit of a contradiction. On the one hand God asks them to take the offering, and on the other He says that the offering should be given willingly. The rabbis concluded that the “them” are the leaders of the people, thus God gives the commandment to the leaders to “take” or to request an offering from the people but the giving should be voluntary. Not only that the people needed to have a tangible purpose for their giving, but also the leaders had to take on the responsibility to inspire the people in order to exercise their giving nature. The word “offering” or “portion” used here is the Hebrew word “terumah” used only in conjunction with giving to Yehovah. That was God's portion, meaning that this “portion” was an offering from their best possessions and it was to be set aside for a higher purpose, in this case for the building of the Mishkan.

The response of the people to the requests of the leaders was overwhelming, as we read further in chapter 36. The people were so eager to have a share in the building of a place for the Shechinah – God’s Presence – that the workers had to appeal to Moshe to halt the contributions. May we all get inspired by their actions so, we, too, may exercise our zeal to give the absolute best for God's work and His Kingdom.

The redemption from Egypt was not complete with the physical departure from that land of enslavement, nor was it complete even with the giving of the Ten Commandments. The Exodus had not achieved its purpose until the heights that the nation had achieved temporarily at Sinai were made a permanent part of their existence by means of the Mishkan, the Tabernacle, which, as a whole and in its many parts, was symbolic of the experience at Mount Sinai. It was from the Holy Ark that God spoke to Moshe, just as He had spoken to him from atop Mount Sinai, when giving the Torah.

The Tabernacle was intended to be the place to which every Jew would go and elevate himself spiritually. The function of the Tabernacle in the Wilderness was carried forward to the Temple in Jerusalem. That new Sanctuary represented Israel's obligation to sanctify itself in its personal life. When the nation carried out that primary responsibility, God responded by dwelling among them. But Israel faltered and did not fulfill its responsibility of a Holy Nation, therefore, God, in His desire to be with His people, made a promise that He will come and speak directly to them by dwelling in another kind of a Temple. Through the prophet Yeshayahu He promised: “Therefore Adonai Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, an almah (virgin) shall be with child, and she will bear a son, and shall call his name Immanu-El (God is with us).” Isaiah 7:14

The sign was not that a young woman will conceive a child, this is a natural phenomenon that happens every day in the world, but that a virgin will conceive a child and that that child will be known among His people as the Son of God. Please read Proverbs 30:4 and answer the riddle from it - I am sure you know the answer. In the fullness of time, the Son of God came down and dwelt among His people in a form of a man called Yeshua, who told the Jewish people: “But I say to you that something greater than the Temple is here.” Mattityahu 12:6 A puzzling statement for the Jews who regarded the Temple as the most sacred thing on earth, but a fulfillment of the prophesy given by Haggai in 2:9, "'The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,' says Yehovah Tzevaot (the LORD of Hosts), 'and in this place I will give peace,' declares Yehovah Tzevaot." The second Temple was far less magnificent of a building than the first, therefore the greater glory was given not by stones and gold but by the presence of God incarnate, Yeshua. But if you say, this "Son of God" is not a Jewish concept but a latter invention, please re-read the words of the one considered the wisest man that ever lived, Solomon, who wrote the riddle in Proverbs 30:4: "Who has ascended into heaven and descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has wrapped the waters in His garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name or His Son's name? Surely you know!" Yes, God has a Son, who participated in the act of creation and is one with the Father, because the answer to Solomon's riddle could be either the Father or the Son — one God, one in nature, but two distinct Persons. Just as Yeshua declared: "I and the Father are one." John 10:30

And because Yeshua was God, He could reveal to His talmidim the plan of God the Father: “And He said to them, ‘Do you not see all these things [the buildings of the Temple]? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.’” Mattityahu 24:1-2 “The Judeans then said to Him, ‘What sign do You show us as Your authority for doing these things?’ Yeshua answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ The Judeans then said, ‘It took forty-six years to build this Temple, and will You raise it up in three days?’ But He was speaking of the temple of His body. So when He was raised from the dead, His talmidim (disciples) remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Yeshua had spoken.” Yochanan 2:18-22

What "Scripture" is Yochanan referring to? The Brit Hadashah was not written yet. After Yeshua rose from the dead the talmidim believed the Tanakh, the Scriptures of that time, and understood what Isaiah, Haggai and Solomon wrote, not a new theology but a very Jewish one. They also believed and understood the words of Yeshua, that the physical Temple in Yerushalayim would be destroyed, that the Mishkan had fulfilled its purpose and was no longer needed because of something greater came. They understood that the earthly Temple, in all its splendor, will pale in comparison with the heavenly one. They understood that in the spiritual realm, the exodus from the world of sin is not complete until we enter into a new temple, the fellowship of the body of believers, paralleling the earthly Mishkan. We cannot make our spiritual journey on this earth by ourselves. We need to come together and be spiritually uplifted in this new temple not built with human hands this time, but “having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Messiah Yeshua Himself being the corner [stone,] in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.” Ephesians 2:20-22

The Jewish people valued the earthly Temple for its ability to give them a spiritual uplifting and contributed to it abundantly, how much more should we value our spiritual temple — the body of believers — and contribute to its growth with our finances, our time and our talents.


Coming up this Shabbat at Ben David

February 17 - Message by Doug Friedman:


“Why Did God Allow Six Million Jews to Die in the Holocaust?"

Why did God permit the Nazis to brutally murder so many Jews simply because they were Jews? How could a loving God allow this to happen, especially to His chosen people? What sins had the Jewish people committed that could possibly justify such a punishment? Why didn’t God intervene? We’ll be examining some of the religious and secular Jewish community’s proposed answers to these agonizing questions as well as looking into what the Scriptures tell us.

Simchat Torah

October 14 - Simchat Torahtorah
The Joy of the Torah - Morning Service
Concluding the annual Torah reading and beginning anew.
Join us celebrating God's word.

Rosh HaShanah

Wednesday, September 20 - Erev Rosh HaShanah Messianic Service at 7:00pm.rosh
Rosh HaShanah, also known as the Jewish New Year, is called in the Bible, The Feast of Trumpets, or, in Hebrew, Zicharon Teruah, the Day of Memorial of Blowing.
Rosh HaShanan (literally, Head of the Year) occurs on the first day of the Jewish month of Tishrei, this year, on Thursday, September 21.
Please join us for the evening service on Wednesday, September 20, at 7:00pm and celebrate this Biblical Holy Day and its Messianic significance.

Yom Kippur

September 30 - Yom Kippur Messianic Serviceykippur
Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement, occurs on the tenth of Tishrei, Saturday, September 30 this year.
Join us for this Messianic Service at 10:30am.


October 7 - Sukkot Service at 10:30am:sukkot
join us for a Sukkot celebration.
- Morning Service and Oneg in the Sukkah.

Sisterhood Event Oct-21

October 21 - Sisterhood Eventtorah
Has the Lord been good to you? Have you experienced His grace and blessings in your life? Psalm 105:1-3 Instructs us to:
“Give thanks to the Lord! Proclaim His Name; Make known His deeds among the people. Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; Talk of all His wondrous works. Glory in His Holy Name; Let the hearts of those rejoice who see the Lord.”
If you answered “yes” to the questions above, then we hope that you will join us as we gather to say Toda Adonai in worship and fellowship. Let us proclaim His great Name and declare His wondrous works in our lives.
Join us after the morning service at 12:30pm for a giving thanks luncheon. Lunch donation: $5.

Hanukkah Celebration

December 16 - Hanukkah Celebration at 4:00pm
Come, celebrate Hanukkah with us.
- Menorah Lighhting
- Dancing
- Children’s Activities
- Dreidel Playing
- Traditional Foods
- Latkes & Sufganiyot

PLEASE NOTE: There will be no morning service.

Coming up at Ben David - Purim

March 3 - Purim Celebration:

Join us for a fun filled Purim Celebration: costumes, parade, children's program, joyful music, insightful sermon, and an Oneg with delicious hamantaschen. Purim is the last event of the biblical calendar and symbolizes the ultimate victory over evil.

Hamantaschen Baking Contest:

Bring two dozen of your homemade hamantaschen before the service to enter the contest. Prizes will be awarded at the Oneg.

Coming up at Ben David - Passover

March 31 - Community Passover Seder:

Join us for our annual Community Seder at Embassy Suites Hotel.

This would be a wonderful time to invite family and friends as Doug will leads us through the traditional elements of the Passover explaining how Yeshua the Messiah fulfilled the Scriptures as the promised Lamb of God. We will be sharing the reading of the Haggadah and learn about the Jewish roots of Yeshua's Last Seder, enjoy beautiful holiday music, Davidic dancing, and partake of a sumptuous Seder dinner.

To make your reservation, please click on the picture above and follow the directions. Or, pick a flier from our congregation.

For more information please call (714) 974-3107 or e-mail at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Coming up at Ben David

December 30 - Message by Shmuel Oppenheim:


“Hineni: Here I Am!”

Rabbi Oppenheim will address the subject of what God asked of Abraham, what God was willing to do, and what He did.

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