LAKACHAT ;To take

Biblical Word Study, TERUMAH Exodus 25:1-27:19. The verb to “ask” pre-supposes the possibility of choice.

Moshe Kempinski

Judaism Chumash
Chumash
צילום: PR

The Torah portion begins with a confusing set of words

“Hashem spoke to Moshe saying: "Speak to the children of Israel, and have them take (Veyikchu) for Me an offering; from every person whose heart inspires him to generosity, you shall take My offering.” (Exodus 25:1-2)

If this was truly to be an offering then the words should have said “Give me a Trumah (offering) ” and not "take for me”. The idea that this Trumah  was “taken” might imply that it was to be done by coercion. Yet that cannot be the case because the text also tells us “from every person whose heart inspires him to generosity, you shall take My offering.”

Yet the concept of giving a gift to G-d is also problematic. As King David says "the earth is Hashem's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;(Psalm 24:1).

So we are left with two questions. Why does the text use the words "take for me an offering" as opposed to "give me an offering". And how can anything actually be offered to G-d as all of creation is His.

One needs to understand the meaning of word LaKachat-to Take in Hebrew. The word forms of "LaKach" appear over a thousand times throughout Tanach. In most of them it refers to an act of "taking something that is desirable"

In the creation of Adam and Eve we read the following; "And Hashem G-d built the side that He had taken (Lakach) from man into a woman, and He brought her to man."(Genesis 2:22)

We read of Hanoch  (Enoch)  who was faithful to G-d the following; “And Hanoch walked with G-d, and he was no longer, for G-d had taken (LaKach) him.” (Genesis 5:24)

We see it again as a function of desire "you may take (LaKachta) her for yourself as a wife." (Deuteronomy 21:11)

It is clear that Hashem, so to speak "desired "  these offerings. Yet again why are these offerings taken rather than just being given?

 It is understood that all things belong to G-d. So in essence when Hashem says:"Speak to the children of Israel, and have them take for Me an offering; (Exodus 25:2), He is actually saying "let them take from what is "Mine" to bring me an offering . Yet that  truth makes the question even more complicated.

Yet the essence of that offering  is actually found in the following words "from every person whose heart inspires him to generosity, you shall take My offering"  The true offering is the generous heart.

What Hashem yearns for as an offering is the "heart that inspires him to generosity". It is that yearning and inspired heart  that will be the ultimate treasure and offering.

All things belong to G-d ,yet the choices of the heart are left in the control of His creations.

In some cultures of this world the "Grace of G-d" is defined as G-d choosing us. Yet in Judaism the concept of Grace is defined as G-d giving us the power to choose Him. This is in fact one of the greatest gifts G-d has given mankind .

The power and the freedom to choose.

We read in the Torah portion of Eikev the following;

“And now, Israel, what does Hashem your G-d ask ( Sho-el) of you, but to fear Hashem your G-d, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve Hashem your G-d, with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deuteronomy 10:12)

The verb to “ask” pre-supposes the possibility of choice.

In the words of the sages " Everything is in the hand of Heaven, except the awe of Heaven" (Megilla 25a)".

When the people are inspired and yearn to bring Hashem an offering, then it is that yearning heart that will is the ultimate offering. For it is in that yearning that these mortals are making room for Hashem to enter into their hearts and souls.

All this achieves its purpose in a verse that appears soon following "They shall make for Me a sanctuary and I will dwell amidst them"

In the words of the Rebbe  of Kotzk;

"Where is G-d to be found?"  he asked. His answer was that "He is found In the place where He is given entry. "His Presence is only revealed in a place that makes room for Him in awareness."

When the people are inspired and yearn to bring Me an offering, then it is that yearning heart  that makes room for Hashem to dwell amongst them.

Lerefuat Kol HaPtzuim ve Hacholim
Lerefuat Yehudit bat Golda Yocheved and Yehudit bat Chaya Esther





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