Below is a collection of Parashat Terumah resources created by The Lookstein Center staff or contributed to the site by Jewish educators.

This is a growing collection. Check back soon or write to us at if you didn’t find what you’re looking for. 


Question #1: In Parashat Terumah, we read about the plans for building the Mishkan (Tabernacle). Everyone shared in bringing all the materials needed so they felt that it truly belonged to all of them. How do you divide up responsibilities in your class or your family? If your class was having an end-of-the-year party, Should one rich family provide all of the treats or should they be equally divided among all of the students? Which plan do you think would be more successful? Why?

Look inside the text, (Shemot 25:2),

דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְיִקְחוּ לִי תְּרוּמָה מֵאֵת כָּל אִישׁ אֲשֶׁר יִדְּבֶנּוּ לִבּוֹ תִּקְחוּ אֶת תְּרוּמָתִי – Tell the Israelite people to bring Me gifts; you shall accept gifts for Me from every person whose heart so moves him.

Question #2: How can a place help bring holiness to a community? One would expect the verse to read, “Make me a sanctuary so that I may dwell with it!” The Midrash (and the English translation) offer a beautiful idea. When you donate to building a sanctuary and it is done for the sake of God and it is part of your life, Hashem will bless you and you will feel His presence among you. Nowadays our synagogues are a “small Temple” – a substitute for the sanctuary we once had. How does your synagogue bring Holiness to the community? During this past year of the pandemic, synagogues became active in many different types of “helping” and chesed in the community. What happened in your community? How can your family take part in it?

Question #3: Is it important that what you show on the “outside” is matched by who you are “inside”? The commentator Rashi explains that Bezalel, the artist, prepared three boxes for the Ark – two of gold and one of wood. The Ark was made of an inner and outer box of gold. We understand that it should be gold on the outside because it adds to the respect and grandeur of the Ark. But what difference does it make if the inside is gold when no one will ever see it? The Rabbis explain that this comes to teach us that a person must be “gold” on the inside as well as the “outside.” What do you think it means to be “gold” both on the inside and outside? Did you ever meet someone who you thought would be very nice and everyone thought he was so amazing and you later discovered his “inside” was not at all like the outside impression he gave?

Look inside the text (Shemot 25:11),

 וְצִפִּיתָ אֹתוֹ זָהָב טָהוֹר מִבַּיִת וּמִחוּץ תְּצַפֶּנּוּ – It (the Ark) must be covered in gold both on the inside and outside.

Question #4: The initially stated function of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) was for God to dwell amongst the people. That is a noble desire, but possibly terrifying as well. God sees all and knows all; having that palpable presence in our neighborhood can be overwhelming. Would we prefer living in a society with greater individual freedoms, in which the authorities are kept at a distance, but which affords little protection, or one in which “Big Brother” sees all and knows all, providing a high level of protection, but limiting our freedoms and individuality?

Question #5: Many of the vessels created for use in the Mishkan (Tabernacle) were made of pure gold or a gold coating over wood. Despite their beauty, they were seen only by a select group of Kohanim (priests) during the service. Are the most important qualities of a person those which are seen on the outside or those which are hidden? What use is there in values which are hidden?