Parashat Terumah

The Power of Partnership

With their faces one to another (Exodus 25:20)
ופניהם איש אל אחיו (שמות כה:כ)


Among other vessels for the Tabernacle described in our parashah, we read about the dimensions and details of the Ark of the Covenant. On the crown of the Ark was the kaporet covering, which was crowned with two cherubs facing one-another. The language used to describe their positioning is, ish el ahiv, literally, “one toward its brother.” Why does the Torah describe the cherubim in this manner? Dr. Rachel Anisfeld writes that this language communicates the importance of working together as a team. “How do we bring God’s presence down to earth? Where does He reside today? In the places where we face each other, working together in a common enterprise, like the two cherubs with their wings outstretched, together creating a canopy over the ark.” Dr. Anisfeld notes that this term, ish el ahiv—“one man toward his brother”—is repeated numerous times throughout the parashah, most often, later, in the feminine—ishah el ahotah—“one woman toward her sister”—referring to the joining of separate cloths together to make a cover for the Tabernacle. She writes, “The Tabernacle is constructed on the principle of teamwork and friendship, of the joining of separate pieces. Indeed, the construction of the Tabernacle is the model of a task that cannot be accomplished by one person. It requires weavers, sculptors and carpenters, artists, engineers and managers, all working in concert. The physical details of construction mirror the human process—people are being joined together as well as planks, one facing toward the other.”

Teamwork provided the crucial support necessary to build the Iron Dome and other rocket systems now protecting Israel. Recently, it has also played a critical role in the system’s upgrade over the last few years. Although the system was successfully deployed several years ago, a joint American-Israeli team has been working to improve its accuracy and effectiveness. Last week, the IDF announced that it had completed a series of complex tests on an upgraded version of the Iron Dome. According to the Jerusalem Post, “The experiments, which were conducted in the south of the country, focused on the use of the ‘Tamir’ interceptor and its ability to intercept a number of targets which were fired simultaneously at different ranges. The Tamir interceptor is made of parts produced by both the United States and Israel, as part of an agreement signed in 2014 between the two countries. In the agreement, the manufacturing of the Iron Dome was moved to Raytheon’s plant in the United States, who helped to fund the interceptors’ production.”  Shabbat Shalom