I will begin by confessing that I have always found Terumah (not to mention next week's Tetzaveh) difficult. I find myself not absorbing the parshah, because I instead get caught up in trying to visualize how the items looked, i.e. how they could be assembled from their various components, and how they in turn came together as a completed unit. B'H', this year, for whatever reason, I managed to focus on the descriptions themselves more and noticed two elements of the parshah for the first time:
- All "work"-related items where made of copper
- The term "on the mountain" is used twice
A basic interpretation of repeating "on the mountain" is that the phrase reinforces the notion that Hashem is the source of the Temple's design, and that Moshe received the elaborate instructions twice in order that he understand them perfectly and communicate them precisely to the craftsmen. That being said, this phrase also reinforces the connection between the gold and copper used: In the first instance, "you are shown on the mountain" refers to the gold of the menorah, and in the second "as you were shown on the mountain" refers to the copperwork of the altar.
In its purity, gold is an often-used symbol for the highest level of spiritual experience. Thus, it is fitting that the menorah, which illuminated the Temple and generated light outward from within, would be made of gold. By using the present, active voice ("you are shown on the mountain"), we understand that the golden menorah represents the highest form of closeness to Hashem, that immediate, unhindered basking in his presence. This proximity is seemingly lessened by the use of the past tense ("as you were shown on the mountain"), and that is the point: in our daily lives post-Har Sinai, we must build up our service of Hashem since we are further removed from Him. Therefore, the "cleansing" aspects of the service that purified the Kohanim and atoned for the Klal were performed with copper, a humble element, but were related to achieving a closer, more perfect relationship with Hashem as represented by gold.
So, a Rosh Chodesh Tov everyone. B'H', we have made it to another Adar! Of course, while I am not chassidishe, I do believe that we should always act as if it is Adar, i.e. we should be b'simcha, which shows the greatest level of bitachon in Hashem. Not that I am claiming to be at that level. But I suppose I am hoping that once I achieve that mindset, I will merit being able to see the Nisuch Hamayim performed again. After all, it is Adar. And there is always hope.