In the few months following Februrary 16, 1991, I studied and prepared Parashat Terumah, a section of the book of Exodus. It was my Bat-Mitzvah parasha, meaning that the ceremony celebrating my entrance into Jewish adult life fell on the same day as Jewish congregations everywhere recited the Terumah section of Sh'mot (Exodus) in their Sabbath prayers. Terumah in hebrew means "Offering"; the Biblical text deals with the very specific act of constructing a temporary mishkan, or sanctuary, for God. The sanctuary described in Terumah is temporary because the Jewish people are in exile during the time in which the book of Exodus takes place. I urge you to quickly peruse the text. Terumah appears to be nothing but a list of technicalities-- measurements, materials, directions. To a twelve-(and a half)-year-old, Terumah appeared to be boring.

In the years that followed my Bat-Mitzvah ceremony, I tackled Jewish studies in an increasingly rigorous manner, a manner that involved transcending straight Biblical text. I began to read the Old Testament non-linearly, often dwelling upon exploring the meaning of one section or word, often reading the text out of any seemingly logical "order." It was in the translation, or the interpretation, of straight text that I found excitement--constant challenge.

However, given the wealth of Biblical text that necessitates interpretation, I never was able to make my way back to Parashat Terumah.

Until now.