The portion Terumah is a very beautiful one. Physically, the story talks about the gathering of material for the building of the Mishkan, the Tabernacle. However, at the core of this reading, and this Shabbat, is really an awakening of the heart and soul to a connection with the Light of the Creator. And many of the most beautiful sections of the Zohar that speak about that awakening of our heart and soul are discussed in Terumah’s Zohar portion. As such, what is really unique about Shabbat Terumah is the assistance we receive from the Light of the Creator to truly open and feel the awakening of our heart and soul.
The portion begins with the Creator telling Moses, regarding the Israelites, “They should bring Me an offering . . . Any person,” meet kol ish asher yidvenu libo, “whose heart is awakened to give,” kol ish tikkhu et terumati, “from him you can and should take the offering.” And there is a beautiful teaching from the grandson of the Baal Shem Tov about this. He says, the Creator’s use of the word li here is significant; it means the Creator is saying, “Take me,” like the Light is actually waiting for us to take It.
But, how we can take the Light, which is what the Creator is asking us to do? It is a completely different understanding of how we do our spiritual work; we are not connecting to the Light or drawing some of the Light. Rather, we need to be taking the Light as our own. And, if we do that, we actually begin to feel it, and feel it differently. So, the question becomes, how do we take the Light of the Creator so that It rests with us all the time? The most important and powerful way is through connecting to the words of the Zohar. Why? Because the words of the Zohar, as we have talked about previously, are the essence of the Light of the Creator.
However, the consciousness with which we connect to the Zohar is incredibly important. With every word that we are saying, scanning, or studying, we need to meditate on the knowledge that even though the words seem to be going out, really, we are taking them in; with every single word, we are taking in the essence of the Light of the Creator. And that is why, as I often mention, it is important to actually mouth the words of the Zohar, so that it comes back into our ears. Because the purpose and process of connecting to the essence of the Light of the Creator, or more importantly, taking the Light of the Creator by reading or scanning the Zohar, is not of giving out, but of taking in. And when we mouth the words of the Zohar, and our ears hear them, we are actually taking those words, and in turn the essence of the Light of the Creator, into ourselves.
So, when the Light is saying in the portion Terumah, “I need you to take Me,” the Creator is actually telling us, “I do not need you to connect to Me, I do not want you to draw some of My Light; I need you to be bringing Me into you.” And, therefore, there is no more powerful tool in the world to take the Light and bring It into us than the reciting, hearing, or reading of the words of the Zohar. But it has to be done with this consciousness: as we say the words of the Zohar, we know that they are the essence of the Light of the Creator, and as we hear them, we are taking them in, taking the essence of the Light of the Creator for ourselves. If we read it in this way, we should be feeling our heart and soul become wakened and filled with the Light of the Creator. And on Shabbat Terumah, we receive the assistance from the Creator to open us up to this awakening.