This week we read Parshas Terumah. It tells of Hashem’s specific commands to Israel to build the Mishkan – Tabernacle; this was the “portable” Temple with which the Jews traveled for the forty years during which they wandered in the wilderness.
Hashem commanded Moshe to build the Mishkan from materials which the nation donated in the desert. Hashem told Moshe to “speak to the Jewish Nation, and have them take for Me an offering…” Rashi cites the words “and has 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 an offering for Me?” 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 Mitzvah. However, it seems counter-intuitive for one to take, to receive a donation for Hashem’s purpose. After all, he accepts the gift to feed 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 the reason that Hashem created the world in a manner that the poor must receive from the wealthy is so that Tzedokoh and kindness should exist in the world.
That is why one who is impoverished must receive money from he who is wealthy. We must do this for Hashem’s sake. Only in this manner is it assured that we fulfill G-d’s purpose in creating the world will be carried out; there will be goodness and kindness in the world. One is fulfilling of Creation by “taking” an offering.
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.
I wish one and all a good Shabbos!
Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn
Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 3, Beginning with Page 908
DEDICATED IN HONOR OF
the Lubavitcher Rebbe
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כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש
. Our Parshah, Shemos 25:2.
. See Sefer Hamaamorim 5628 (1868) the discourse beginning with the words “Tiku.” See also Shemos Rabbah Chapter 31, 5, and the Midrash Tanchumah, ibid.