T’rumah: Camp-Inspired Discussion Questions for Your Shabbat

The Eisner blog

Home » T’rumah: Camp-Inspired Discussion Questions for Your Shabbat

Shabbat Shalom! We are thrilled that so many Eisnerites are celebrating Shabbat Across America this Friday night by inviting members of our community into their homes or synagogues for Shabbat dinner! No matter where or how you are enjoying Shabbat this week, we want to offer you the chance to learn some Torah and reflect on its relevance for camp.

This week’s parasha is T’rumah, meaning “gifts.” You can read the text of the portion in English, or watch a musical video version for more context.  In the parasha, God says, “build me a sanctuary so I may dwell among them” (Ex 25:8). Moses is instructed to gather luxurious gifts from the Israelites for the building of the Tabernacle, which will be God’s dwelling-place in the wilderness.  What follows is a detailed list of instructions of exactly how to build the Tabernacle, including the ark, table, and menorah.

Here are some camp-inspired questions based on this parasha you can discuss with your family and friends this Shabbat:

  1. In this parasha, the Israelites literally build a sacred space for God to dwell in the wilderness.  For many of us, camp is a sacred space.  How do we build sacred space at camp both physically and emotionally? Where on camp do you feel God’s presence?


  1. In this part of the Torah, Moses becomes almost a construction contractor for the Tabernacle. If you were to design a new building for camp, what would it be and what would it look like? What materials would you need to build it?


  1. T’rumah reads like a long list of instructions, similar to our Parent Packets and Staff Manual we receive to plan for camp. Why do you think God gave such extensive, detailed instructions about building the sanctuary? Does our own extensive planning for the summer offer any insight?


  1. God tells Moses to “gather gifts for Me from every person whose heart is moved.” (Ex 25:2).  T’rumah, gifts from the heart, is contrasted with tzedakah, which is giving out of a responsibility for justice. What types of giving in your life feel more like t’rumah, and which are tzedakah? What “gifts from the heart” do you bring to camp?


Feel free to write your answers to these questions in the comments below!