Pearls of Rashi – Terumah

This week we read Parshas Terumah. It tells of Hashem’s detailed commands to Israel to build the Mishkan – Tabernacle; this was the “portable” Temple which the Jews travelled with for the forty years during which they wandered in the wilderness.

The Mishkan was built from materials which the nation donated in the desert. Hashem told Moshe to[1] “speak to the Jewish Nation, and have them take for Me an offering…” Rashi cites the words “and have them take for Me,” and explains as follows. “for me, (in other words) dedicated to My name.”

There is a well-known question which many commentaries ask regarding this verse. Why were the Jews told to “take for Me an offering?” It would seem to have been more appropriate to command them to “give Me an offering!” They were not taking the donations for Hashem’s sake; they were giving them!

We can answer this question and understand our verse together with Rashi’s comments on a deeper level. We are all aware that we must give Tzedokoh for Hashem’s sake, i.e. for the sake of the Mitzvah. However, it seems counter-intuitive for one to take, to receive a donation for Hashem’s sake. After all, he accepts the donation with the intention of feeding himself and his family. The Torah is telling us here that we must also receive Tzedokoh for the sake of the Mitzvah.

It is written in holy books[2] the reason Hashem created the world in such a manner that the poor must receive from the wealthy. This is in order that Tzedokoh and kindness should exist in the world.

That is why one who is impoverished must receive money from he who is wealthy. This must be done for Hashem’s sake. Only in this manner is it assured that G-d’s purpose in creation will be carried out; there will be goodness and kindness in the world.

May we all share what we have with those around us. Then we can be sure that the redemption will come in the merit of Tzedokoh.

Wishing one and all a good Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 3, Beginning with Page 908

Mr. Sholom Moshe ben Reb Shlomo Meir
Hacohen ע”ה Cohen
Passed away Shabbos Parshas Beshalach,
13 Shevat, 5779
May His Soul be bound in the Eternal Bond of Life
* * *
לעילוי נשמת
ר’ שלום משה בן ר’ שלמה מאיר הכהן ע”ה כהן
נפטר ש”ק פ’ בשלח, י”ג שבט, ה’תשע”ט
ת. נ. צ. ב. ה.
יו”ל ע”י בני משפחתו שיחיו

[1]. Our Parshah, Shemos 25:2.

[2]. See Sefer Hamaamorim 5628 (1868) the discourse beginning with the words “Tiku.” See also Shemos Rabbah Chapter 31, 5, and the Midrash Tanchumah, ibid.

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