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Monday, Shevat 27, 5778 / February 12, 2018


This week’s Parsha, Terumah, is about G-d’s commandment to build a Mishkan (Tabernacle), a sanctuary for G-d, through which He will dwell amongst the Jewish people, and the contributions the people gave towards the building of the Mishkan (Tabernacle).


The name of the Parsha, “Terumah,” means to lift up andelevate. When we donate from our money or our possessions towards the building of a sanctuary for G-d, these items become elevated from their mundane state to become a holy object.


The Parsha begins, “G-d spoke to Moshe, saying, ‘Speak to the children of Israel and have them take for Me an offering (contribution).’”  The Hebrew verse can be translated in a slightly different way. Instead of, “Have them take for me an offering,” it can be understood as, “They shall take Me through their offering.”


By contributing towards the building of the Mishkan, we take G-d. We bring G-dliness into our midst. When we give charity, we actually take more than we give. This is why, when the Torah uses the term take instead of give.


Q.What is the connection between giving charity and connecting withG-d?


A.The holy sage Shaloh writes that when we give charity it represents G-d name, which is comprised of the four letters Yud, Hay, Vav, Hay ((י-ה-ו-ה.


The coin represents the letter Yud. The five fingers which give the coin to the poor person is represented by the letter Hay, which has a numerical value of 5. The poor person’s outstretched hand and his five fingers with which he accepts the coin is represented by the letters Vav (which resembles the outstretched hand) and the five fingers by the letter Hay, as mentioned above.


Thus, when we give charity before the poor person stretches out his hand to ask for it, we have G-d’s name in order. But if we wait for them to stretch out their hand and beg, then G-d’s name is in the opposite order. According to the Shaloh, the Torah hints here that we should be aware of another person’s needs, even before they have to ask for help – that’s the proper way to give.


Q. The Mishkan was built in the desert. One of the items they had to donate for the building of the Mishkan was acacia wood. How did the Jewish people get this wood in the desert?


A. The sages in the Talmud explain that Jacob foresaw that G-d will command his descendents to build a Mishkan in the desert. When he moved to Egypt, 210 years earlier, he planted these trees in Egypt and told his children to make sure to cut them down and bring them out of Egypt with them.