Sharing Torah Insights

Trumah- Giving and Taking

Posted on א׳ באדר ה׳תשע״ב (February 24, 2012) | in Terumah, Uncategorized | by

“And take for me Truma”

The parsha opens by God asking the Jewish People to donate materials for the building of the Mishkan. It occured to me that unlike modern day projects which often is funded by grants or a single donor or perhaps the government, the Mishkan was actually donated (mostly) by the Jewish People. The corally might or should be that a building donated entirely by fellow Jews evokes a more visceral meaning for visitors than a sanctuary built by an outside source.

The language of the pasuk is famously questioned as it seemingly would make more sense to say- “give me a Truma”.

Rav Leib Chasman in Ohr Yahel gives a parable to answer this question. An infant often refuses to eat what his or her mother wants it to. Eventually, though, the child gives in and opens its mouth for the food. The child might think that it has done a wonderful service for the mother, as she is now finally relieved. However, in actuality the child is one who is recieveing nourishment it needs.

The same is true in our relationship with God. I have often pondered what it means to be called an “eved Hashem, a servant of God”. Does God require our services?

Rather, as the Mesilas Yesharim famously posits, God, as a Giver, created us as a gift of kindness. Life is an opportunity for us to emulate and attain closeness to God by performing mitzvos and studying the Torah. Therefore, we are really taking

Practically, this can relate to being a guest in some one’s home. Unless things are extremely hectic, the host is very glad to have the guest and wants to service him or her. The host might feel that they are being a burden by asking for things, but in reality the host feels a great sense of pride and accomplishment when they can help out their guest. To avoid asking for what one needs would perhaps irritate the host as the host may then feel inadequate to fulfill the guests’s needs.

So sometimes we should be takers, which in a sense may be giving to the host. The flip side is also true, at times. When we give to others, we are really taking a sense of accomplishment from the situation.

This is the meaning of the pasuk. By giving a donation ‘to God’ and our fellow Jews, we really take the experience of that Mitzva, the reward of the Mitzva and the opportunity of being part of something greater.

Have a great Shabbos,


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