923 McCallie Avenue, Chattanooga, TN 37403

Parshat Terumah: Buildings

Parshat Terumah: Buildings
Exodus 25:40

וּרְאֵ֖ה וַעֲשֵׂ֑ה בְּתַ֨בְנִיתָ֔ם אֲשֶׁר־אַתָּ֥ה מׇרְאֶ֖ה בָּהָֽר׃ 

See and make according to the form that you are shown on the mountain.

In my few months at B’nai Zion, I have heard a variety of ideas as to our future building. With that in mind, I read this verse with envy of the simplicity of the Israelites task in the desert. While on Mount Sinai for 40 days and nights, Moses learns from God exactly how the tabernacle is to be built. All the Israelites have to do is build it according to those instructions. 

We no longer receive building instructions from heaven. Instead, we must determine our communal space using the tools at our disposal: shared values, budget projections, market availability, expert advice, surveys, etc. There is not one path forward, but many considerations to take into account each step of the way.

Our Torah, however, gives us a warning. It was while Moses was on the mountain, mapping out this holy edifice, that the Israelites became restless and built the golden calf. Perhaps this is why it is actually a mitzvah to recall the story of the golden calf daily. It is a story about how the Jewish community, at its inception, was almost torn apart waiting to determine a plan for a building. It’s a reminder that our connections to each other are sacred, and we should not let them break in this process. It’s a story that reminds us that while patience is truly difficult,  good ideas take time. 

Given that we have not received divine instruction like our Israelite ancestors, we must trust each other and our tool kit to chart our path forward. Still, if anyone goes hiking on one of our nearby mountains and does receive blueprints from God, please call the office.

Office Hours

B’nai Zion Congregation
923 McCallie Avenue
Chattanooga, TN 37403
(enter parking lot from Oak Street)

Monday: Closed
Tuesday-Thursday: 10:00am – 4:00pm
Friday: 10:00am – 3:00pm

Please call ahead to confirm someone will be in the office when you arrive!


Rabbi Samuel Rotenberg: rabbirotenberg@bzcongregation.com

Autumn Clark, Office Manager: office@bzcongregation.com

Phone: 423.894.8900

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Weekly Services

Wednesday Minyan

Friday Kabbalat Shabbat

Shabbat Morning
9:45 am

See our Worship & Events page for all up to date services!