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Thursday, Adar1 2, 5779 / February 7, 2019


The five Parshiot, beginning with this week's Parsha, Terumah, until the end of the book of Exodus (Shemot), describe mostly the contributions and the construction of the Tabernacle (Mishkan) and its contents.


In Parshat Ki Tisa, which will be read in two weeks, the Torah also tells the story of the Golden Calf. 


This week’s Parsha, Terumah, begins, "And G-d spoke to Moshe saying, Speak to the children of Israel and they shall take for me an offering; of every man that gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offeringLet them make me a sanctuary and I will dwell amongst them."


As mentioned in a previous Torah Fax, why does the Torah use the expression, Take for Me an offering, instead of Give for Me an offering? It teaches us an important lesson in charity. Although, when we give Tzedakah (charity) it seems that we are the ones who are giving, however, in reality we are taking; we get back much more than we give. The reward we receive in return for this mitzvah is much greater than what we gave.  Thus, the Torah tells us that giving is really “taking.”


The Talmud explains this concept as follows, "No matter how much the wealthy person, who gives the charity, does for the poor person, it is the poor person who does even more for the wealthy one."


The following are passages from our Talmudic sages concerning the mitzvah of Tzedakah (charity):


Rabbi Asi says, "Charity equals in importance to all other mitzvot combined."


Rabbi Yehuda says, "Great is the mitzvah of charity for it brings closer Israel's redemption."


Rabbi Yitzchak says, "He who gives a coin to a poor man receives six blessings, and he who also speaks to him words of encouragement receives eleven blessings."


Rabbi Yehuda says, "Ten hard things have been created in the world.  The rock is hard, but iron shatters it. Iron is hard, but fire softens it.  Fire is powerful, but water extinguishes it.  Water is heavy, but clouds carry it.  Clouds are thick, but wind scatters them.  Wind is strong, but a body resists it.  The body is strong, but fear crushes it.  Fear is powerful, but wine banishes it.  Wine is strong, but sleep works it off.  Death is stronger than all, yet, charity delivers from death, as is written, "Charity delivers from death" (Prov. 10:2). 


Rabbi Moshe of Koznitz said:  Why is it that when a person is poor they don’t blame themselves for being poor, instead they blame G-d for it and complain. Yet, when a person is wealthy they tend to take credit for their success, forgetting that G-d gave it to them and thus have responsibilities to use the money as G-d intended.