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Parshat T'rumah

"The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 'Tell the Israelite people to bring Me gifts; you shall accept gifts for Me from every person whose hearts so moves him. And these are the gifts that you shall accept from them: gold, silver, and copper; blue, purple, and crimson yarns, fine linen, goats' hair, tanned ram skins, dolphin skins, and acacia wood...And let them make Me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them. Exactly as I show you--the pattern of the Tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings--so shall you make it.'"

G-d proceeds to micromanage His holy construction project: the portable ark that the Israelites will carry with them through the desert for the next forty years, ultimately building Him a permanent sanctuary in Israel.

Like Shabbat Mom, G-d is remarkably controlling (and, like Shabbat Mom's husband, he does not allow change orders): He is a demanding architect, contractor, designer, co-op board president and even owner's rep all at the same time. Every year, when Shabbat Mom reads T'rumah she thinks of the expression "G-d is in the details".

"'They shall make an ark of acacia wood, two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high...You shall make a table of acacia wood, two cubits long, one cubit wide, and a cubit and a half high. Overlay it with pure gold, and make a gold molding around it. Make a rim of a hand's breadth around it, and make a gold molding for its rim and round about...'"

The list goes on and on.

"'You shall make a curtain of blue, purple, and crimson yarns, and fine twisted linen; it shall have a design of cherubim worked into it. Hang it upon four posts of acacia wood overlaid with gold and having hooks of gold, [set] in four sockets of silver...'"

Essentially, T'rumah is Biblical Feng Shui, an ancient Chinese art correlating the design of spaces and placement of objects with positive energy flow. How appropriate, then, to read this holy interior-design manual this week since the Chinese Year of the Pig began on Tuesday.

Xinnian Kuaile, Gongxi Facai! (In Mandarin this literally means, 'New Year Happy!)

Or, as Shabbat Mom will say tonight, serving a kosher Chinese banquet at her red-and-gold decorated dining table:

Shabbat Shalom!

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