“I will dwell among them…”

Shabbat Kodesh Parashat Terumá

We will read on Shabbat:

וְעָ֥שׂוּ לִ֖י מִקְדָּ֑שׁ וְשָׁכַנְתִּ֖י בְּתוֹכָֽם

“And let them make Me a Mikdash (sanctuary) and I will dwell among them” (Shemot 25.8) .

Some of the commentators have noticed that it should have said: And I will dwell on it, (in the Mikdash) and not “amongst them”.

The common answer is that indeed, it is an indication that G-d is offering to “dwell in us”, as human beings, (depending on our moral conduct). 

But if so, why is this mentioned in the context of building the Mikdash. After all, the idea of  building a Mikdash (and everyone was asked to contribute towards it) seems “unnecessary” if Hashem is dwelling in “us”? 

Perhaps – we have to look at it the other way round. 

We are all created בצלם אלוקים, – in the “image of G-d”. And even  if not a residence, we are at the very least a “residual” of our creator. The above verse is there to emphasize that even as and when we will build a formal Mikdash, a central place for prayer and holiness, it will not reduce, never mind remove the centrality of the human being himself  part(ical) of G-d. We will always be with our צלם אלוקים deeply embedded in ourselves. 

Warm regards, Chodesh tov and Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Chaim Michael Biberfeld