Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Parshat Teruma- Unidolatry

I found this beautiful dvar Torah written by Tzvi Freeman over at I think that it is extremely appropriate in light of our discussion abouts idolatry and intermediaries.


By Tzvi Freeman

There is nothing more bizarre: G-d tells us He despises idols -- and He wants us to despise them, as well. He says, "Don't even think of making idols. If idols come to your hands, burn them, destroy them, uproot them. Give your lives rather than give any credence to those idols."

Then, in the innermost chamber of His temple, the place He calls "Holy of Holies," there He tells us to make two golden figurines with wings, one a male, the other a female.

And when we would be at odds with G-d and He with us, these two would face away from one another, back to back. But when the two of us would be in harmony, the temple priests would open the curtains and show us the two figurines entwined in embrace. And they would say, "See how cherished you are by your G-d."

Meaning that one angel represented us and the other...

We must say that it is not images in and of themselves that He wishes us to despise. After all, wouldn't that just make us into another type of idolater -- idolizing the smashing of idols? So when He tells us, "Make two golden angels," we do that, too. Whatever He says -- because it is to Him we are connecting.

Rather, what He so much despises is anything we might place between Himself and us. And that is idolatry -- the acknowledgment of anything or anybody else in our relationship.

So that the image of these two figurines, in effect, are the opposite of idolatry. They are un-idols. With them, He is saying to us, "If you have a problem, if you want to talk, whenever you are wrestling with your world -- don't come to anyone but Me. Not to the moon, not to the sun, not to an angel, not even to the CEO of your corporation. For I cannot bear that there should be anyone or anything between us. I want to embrace you --you wherever you are and you alone. And I want to be embraced by you as though there is nothing else that exists but you and I. For, in truth there is not."

For such a union, there is no other metaphor in all the physical world but the metaphor of the physical union of two lovers.

As the words of Genesis, "G-d made Adam in His image, male and female He created them."

Based on Ohr HaTorah of the Tzemach Tzedek (Chassidic master Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Lubavitch, 1789-1866), Parshat Trumah.


Anonymous said...

Shimshi: I don't quite get it. On one hand it's against Halacha to make images of G-d but then this dvar Tora implies that it is. Or am I getting something wrong?

Avi said...

These are the only images allowed, as well as the Cheruvim in the Beit HaMikdash. One cannot even make decorative copies of these to put in synagogues. The point was that there is no need for an intercessor which is of course why idolatry is such a big deal anyway.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I understand. Thank you!

Brian said...

Exodus 25:10 says nothing about the sexuality of the figurines so this must be rabbinic or kalbalistic in the study can you give more detail on where who how gender came into this ? when Adam was both M/F in one body

Brian said...

in Shomot 25:18 says nothing about sex so I ask why would this be important en less its ego to the male

Brian said...

in Shomot 25:18 says nothing about sex so I ask why would this be important en less its ego to the male

Brian said...

in Shomot 25:18 says nothing about sex so I ask why would this be important en less its ego to the male

TFreeman said...

Whoa--where'd you get that awesome image?!