Monday, February 17, 2014

413 - Terumah

This week's parsha begins with the mitzvah of donating toward the building of the Mishkan. "Speak to Bnei Yisrael and they should take for Me a donation, from every man whose heart motivates him you shall take my donation" (Shemos 25, 2). The question is obvious. Why did the Torah say that Bnei Yisrael should "take" a donation for Hashem; wouldn't it be more correct to say that they should "give" a donation to Hashem?

Rav Wolbe (Shiurei Chumash) cites a Gemara in Kiddushin (7a) to answer this question. Halachah mandates that in order to be mekadeish a woman, the man must give her something of value (Nowadays a ring is used to fulfill this requirement). Yet, there is one instance where the kiddushin can be accomplished by way of the woman giving the man something of value. When the man accepting the present is someone held in high regard, then the fact that he accepted her present gives her pleasure. This pleasure has the value of money and thereby fulfills the halachic requirement to be mekadeish a woman with something of value. Similarly, the Torah is implying that when one gives a donation and it is accepted by Hashem, in effect the donor is really the recipient. He has indeed "taken" a donation!

When we daven, learn or perform a mitzvah, we tend to think that we have done Hashem a favor. However, such an outlook is totally incorrect. Hashem does not need our Torah and mitzvos. He gives us the opportunity to learn and daven for our benefit. Dovid HaMelech declared, "And I, in Your abundant kindness, will enter Your Sanctuary." It is due to Hashem's great kindness that He allows us to serve Him. The gain is solely ours. If we bear this in mind, it will give us a fresh outlook on our avodas Hashem!

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