With Terumah begins the longest single passage in the book of Exodus, continuing to the end of the book and interrupted only by the episode of the Golden Calf. Its subject is the Mishkan, the Tabernacle or Sanctuary the Israelites were commanded to make as a centre of worship and as a visible sign of the presence of God in their midst.

The sheer length and detail of the narrative of the Mishkan signal its central significance to the Israelites, yet it demands a considerable effort of interpretation to translate this into the language and thought of today.