The Torah is full of metaphor, and in some cases, a metaphor of itself (sounds meta, right?). Being able to see these metaphors and apply them is to go beyond the first level of Torah interpretation. There are four levels of interpreting Scripture: PaRDeS.
HaShem gives the Jewish nation the instructions of building the Mishkan as well as the Ark of the Covenant in Parashat Terumah. We have already discussed the Ark of the Covenant, so now let’s look at a different semiotic nugget buried in the text.
In the Mishkan is the candelabra, the menorah, which is the same menorah style that was maintained in the Beis Hamikdash. We do not light this menorah at any time nowadays because its sole use is for the Temple. Today’s menorahs we use for Chanukah are known as Hanukkiahs since they are nine eight working and one resting) candelabras, instead of seven (six working and one resting).
In Parashat Terumah, we come across the construction of the Ark of the Covenant, which is semiotically rich with allusion and importance.
HaShem gives us precise details on how to build the Ark, but what is the importance of reading it in our Parashat every year? While I am sure the Sages, may they be blessed, have many arguments to this purpose, and we know we read the words as part of our Mesora, I believe there is a lesson we can learn in each week’s reading.
In Season 5 of the CW show, Arrow, the (spoilers) Green Arrow is captured and forced to recognize his own sins. He comes to the realization that he has enjoyed killing people and disguised it as a righteous crusade. Halacha of television and murder aside, there is the recognition by Oliver that he had the right mission, but a wrong desire in that mission, leading him to sin. In the process of his repentance, however, he condemned himself as a monster and determined to push others away. Only at the persistence of his team did he return to the fold and realize that he needed to reconsider his motives before he continued in the field of vigilantism. This brings up excellent questions regarding morality, sin, and repentance with the High Holidays around the corner.