Terumah - Divine Design

In this week's Haftorah, we read about the design and construction of the Beit HaMikdash. While the structure was an aesthetic masterpiece, the design had spiritual meaning as well. וַיַּ֣עַשׂ לַבָּ֔יִת חַלּוֹנֵ֖י שְׁקֻפִ֥ים אֲטוּמִֽים, And for the house he made windows wide without, and narrow within. The windows are but one example of the intentional messaging of Hashem’s holy House.  

Rashi explains that these windows were unique in that they were narrow on the inside and wide on the outside, not like typical windows that are intended to let in light. Because Hashem does not need natural light, the windows were designed as such. In fact, the Midrash highlights that the command for the kindling of the Menorah was to provide merit to the Jewish people as Hashem does not need our light.  

So what is the message of the windows? When we engage with the world around us, we must approach it with a broad, expansive perspective, שְׁקֻפִ֥ים, taking in diverse viewpoints and experiences. Yet, while it is essential to maintain a wide perspective when looking outward, we must not neglect the importance of introspection. The word, אֲטוּמִֽים, suggests a narrow and laser focus, reminding us of the need to turn our gaze inward from time to time. When we examine ourselves, we must be willing to confront our flaws and shortcomings with honesty and rigor, holding ourselves accountable to high standards of self-improvement and personal growth.

Ultimately, the image of the windows of the Beit HaMikdash challenges us to embrace a dual perspective – one that is both expansive and introspective. As we navigate our relationships with others, let us strive to see the world through wide-open windows, with a sense of understanding and a welcoming stance. Simultaneously, let us also cultivate an inner landscape characterized by self-awareness and accountability, guiding us towards a deeper understanding of ourselves and our place in the world.