Charity - the root of all
Charity - the root of alliStock

Our Parasha opens with Hashem saying to Moshe (28:1-8) :’Speak to the Children of Isrsel and let them take for Me an offering, from every man whose heart motivates him you shall take My offering. This is the offering that you shall take from them: gold, silver, and copper….They shall make a Sanctuary for Me, so that I may dwell among them.’

Rashi comments:’For Me: לי לשמי:dedicated to My Name.’

Rav David Pardo, on this Rashi, elucidates:’Rashi was concerned as to the language:’Take for Me an offering’, as it should have said:’Give to Me..’, and, therefore alluded to what was brought in the Midrash:’And does He to whom heaven and earth are His, need anything from flesh and blood, but, rather, that He wishes to reside His shechina amongst them’.

‘Therefore, the Torah writes ‘and they shall take for Me’, that Israel take Him, Hakadosh Baruch Hu, by their offering.

‘So that you should not question on the Midrash, that it should then have said:’And they shall take Me’, he would explain that it is not proper to use the words ‘take Me’ concerning Hashem, whom heaven and earth cannot contain; rather, it is to be read in the manner of ‘and they shall place My Name on Bnei Israel’ - that His Name should be on them, meaning: לשמי: for My Name.’

Rav Elya Lopian adds:’When it comes to the building of the Sanctuary, its whole purpose was that there the shechina should dwell, as we read:’make a Sanctuary for Me, so that I may dwell among them’.

‘Were it is not constructed לשמה: solely with that intention, true it may have been constructed in accordance with the physical requirements, but the residing there of the shechina requires that it be constructed with the right intention.

‘Thus, as we read in Shir Hashirim (3:9), though true the exterior of the Sanctuary was made of the most precious materials, its essence for the shechina to reside there, was that:’its inside was full of love, from the daughters of Jerusalem’ - the love of Hashem in the hearts of Bnei Israel during its construction, as it says:’Make a Sanctuary for Me’ - for the sake of My Name’.

‘The whole essence of the Sanctuary - which, as we explained, was as the the residence of the Shechina - depended on the Torah: if there was no Torah, there was no Sanctuary.’

If we have learned of the bond between the residence of the shechina in the Sanctuary, and the Torah, we still need to understand the words of Rav Pardo, based on the Midrash, that the words ‘take for Me an offering’, means, as Rashi comments:’for My Name’, also means: ‘take Me’.

The Midrash Tanchuma, to which Rav Pardo alludes, says:’I said to you: take for Me an offering so that I should reside amongst you. A difficult thing, as it were, is said here by Hashem:’take Me that I should, dwell amongst you; it does not say:’take an offering’, but:’take for Me an offering’ - you are taking Me.’

The answer is found in a beautiful Midrash Rabba: ‘Said Hakadosh Baruch Hu to Israel: ‘I sold You My Torah - I, as it were, was sold with it.’

The Midrash expounds by way of a parable: ‘There was a king who had a beloved only daughter, whom another king desired to take as his wife, and indeed did marry. He now wanted to take his new wife with him, to his land.

‘The father said to him:I cannot stop you from doing so, as she is your wife, but do me this favor, wherever you reside with her, make me a small room that I may dwell with you, as I cannot bear to be separated from my beloved only daughter.

‘So said Hashem to Bnei Israel: I have given you my Torah, to separate Myseif from her, I cannot bear, to tell you not to take her - I cannot do, as she is your wife, but in wherever place you may be, make a place that I may dwell amongst you, as it says:’Make a Sanctuary for Me’.

Rav Ahron Kotler, brings this Midrash, and comments:’There were several lofty reasons for whose sake the Sanctuary was constructed, amongst them a place were atonement for transgressions could be received, but its main purpose was as a place for the holy Torah, as can be seen by it being placed in the Holy of Holies.’

Since, as our Midrash so beautifully expounds, Hashem could not, as it were, bear to be separated from the Torah - His ‘beloved only daughter’ - and since its place was in the heart of the Sanctuary, by the offerings of Bnei Israel, by which the Sanctuary was to be built, Bnei Israel were thereby also ‘taking Hashem’!

Rav Aryeh Leib Heiman sweetens our understanding, commenting:’Since Hashem is so ‘bound’ to his Torah, whoever toils in it, merits to come closer to Hashem, to His beloved ‘daughter’.

‘Why is the Torah likened to the ‘daughter’ of Hashem, and not as His ‘son’?

‘The answer is found in the different natures of man and of woman - the Torah states (Breishit 2:24): ’A man shall leave his father and his mother, and cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.’

‘From this pasuk, we learn that Hashem instilled in the soul of man a special nature, that when he marries a woman and builds a house, he sees himself as planting new roots, and, though he has inherited traits from his parents, it is a new beginning, he is establishing a new dynasty.

‘From where does this feeling derive? From Adam haRishon, who was created from the earth, and therefore had no father or mother!

‘Whilst our pasuk refers to both man and woman,the pasuk does not say that ‘they both leave their mothers and fathers - only that ‘man leaves his father and his mother’, because the woman leaves her father and mother as a result of the man’s complete separation, to enable them to become ‘one flesh’.

‘Woman was created from flesh and blood - of Adam - and therefore always has a connection to flesh and blood, to family roots, as it were, unlike man.

‘Thus, the declaration is (Sotah 2.):’the daughter of ploni to ploni’ - even after she is married, the woman has a sense of being ‘the daughter of..’. This connection continues throughout her life.

‘We can now better understand why the Torah was compared by our Sages to be the ‘daughter’ of the King - and not his ‘son’ - because she feels the ties to her ‘father’, and we know that love is a mutual feeling; so too, the father’s affection is to his daughter, and therefore the father pleads not to be separated from his beloved daughter.

‘We can also now understand why the loving father - Hashem - favors the man who ‘looks after’ his beloved daughter - the Torah - and showers him with His blessings and goodness.

‘Moreover, the ‘daughter’, from her side, yearns for ‘the house of her loving father, all the time seeking the greatest closeness with her Heavenly source - and she draws the one with whom she has become one flesh, upwards, with her.’

Rav Yosef Salant adds:’We learn from this Midrash, that the essence of the Sanctuary was because Hashem, who gave us the Torah did not want to - indeed ‘could not bear’ to - be separated from it, and since the Torah has to be ‘by us’, therefore He asked that a ‘small room’ be made in which He could, as it were, dwell.

‘However, if the spouse - Israel - should leave the Torah, or not learn it or observe it as is proper, then, as it were, the Torah would not be wedded to Israel.

‘Then, too, the shechina would depart, because it only resided amongst Israel because of the Torah - and, if there was no Torah there, the shechina would also not be there.

‘This is the underlying meaning of ‘take for Me an offering’, that thereby Israel are, as it were, also ‘taking the shechina with it’, since the shechina only descended to be with the Torah - therefore, as the Midrash adjures:’Do not desert My Torah’, as it is only because of it that, that I command you:’make me a Sanctuary, so that I may dwell among them’.

The Alshich Hakadosh offers a different understanding, obviating the linguistic difficulties arising from the words:’take for Me’, instead of ‘give to Me’.

He expounds:’The Torah here comes to teach us how we are to serve Hashem in matters of tzedaka, in such a way that what we give can truly be reckoned as giving our money, though we know that all, in reality, belongs to Hashem.

‘We can merit this by, whenever there is a call to give money to a worthy cause, in the privacy of our homes and hearts - away from any considerations of peer pressure, of honor, or other factors which often enter our thoughts on such occasions - consider what is appropriate to give, purely לשמה: for the sake of the mitzvah and He whose command we are fulfilling, and separate the proper amount, with simcha, knowing that we have now truly given of OUR money, as, by so doing, we have acquired it from its ‘original’ owner, as it were, Hashem.

‘When we then give this money to the cause, we have done so knowing that that which we have given, we have properly ‘taken for Hashem’.

A parting gem from Rav Chaim miChernowitz. He expounds the word תרומה, not in its plain meaning - of ‘an offering, but as alluding to לרומם: to elevate.

This, expounds the Rav, is what is alluded to in our pasuk ויקחו לי תרומה: ‘In everything that we do, I, Hashem, should be the most important thing and elevated thing in your thoughts, more than any other thing on earth.

‘This is the meaning of: ‘from every man whose heart motivates him’: from every man whose love of Me is greater than any other desire, or love he may have.

‘This is why trumot are given from the first fruits, to show that the first and most important thing in our lives, is Hashem and His Will - and that all else is secondary.’

לרפואת חיילי צה"ל והחזרת החטופים ולרפואת נועם עליזה בת זהבה רבקה ונחום נחום אלימלך רפאל בן זהבה רבקה, בתוך שאר חולי עמנו.