Back in Philadelphia, in the “old country”, R’ Moshe Ungar would speak about the altar, the mizbeiyach, in terms of both the Beit HaMikdash and in terms
of the personal mizbeiyach which burns eternally in our hearts.
And there is the well-known wish to a Chosson and Kallah that the fire of their personal mizbeiyach burn eternally.
In our Parsha, we begin learning about the construction and the contents of the Mishkan (Tabernacle).
The Shem Mishmuel [Parsha Terumah, pg. 169-172) cites R’ Shimon who said;
Rabbi Shimshon Rafael Hirsch, z'l in the new Hirsch Chumash (published by Feldheim in 2005 and translated to English by Daniel Haberman),
discusses the symbolic significance of the Mishkan in his Sefer Sh'mos, pages 538-540:
(author)], the series of laws whose purpose is the sanctity of the Temple [Mishkan, Beit Hamikdash (author)] and the sanctification of life.
Hashem does not grace us with HIs Presence, protection, and blessings merely upon the scrupulous construction and upkeep of the sanctuary,
but only upon the sanctification of our entire national and private lives and ...dedication to the fulfillment of His Commandments.
Shem Mishmuel goes on to enumerate the four primary objects of the Beit HaMikdash; the Aron HaKodesh, the Shulchan and the Mizbeiyach
which all had rims; and the Menorah, “which represents the good name attainable by every member of the Klal Yisrael” who is connected to
pure Divine influence, which was without rims.
He then defines the words, loshen, for crowns, for rims: zer — the decorative crowns on the sacred objects in the Mishkan which signify rising above
human desires to a holier, more spiritual realm and related it to the nazirite, one who dedicates his life to kedusha “by abstaining from wine and
certain other things for a designated period.”
He cites a Mishnah — Rosh Hashanah 1:2 which states:
He notes that Shabbos does not contain the element of judgement and is, therefore, analogous to the Menorah which has no zer.
Shem Mishmuel notes further, citing the Arizal’s philosophy:
So, it would seem that, like the Menorah and like the Shabbos, a good name is an intangible — one can’t touch or put one’s hands on it, or
discern it with one’s other bodily senses.
It is with these perspectives that our Parsha Terumah opens with Hashem instructing Moshe Rabbeinu, as rendered by Rebbetzin Shira Smiles,
in her sefer "Torah Tapestries" on Sefer Shemos (Perek 25, posukim 2 and 8, page 105, Parshat Terumah):
donation." (Perek 25, posuk 2)
"...They shall make me a Sanctuary [Mishkan] and I will dwell among them." (Perek 25, posuk 8)
Rebbetzin Smiles writes, on the wording of posuk 2; "they shall take for Me a donation":
because they would benefit personally from their donations.
Rebbetzin Smiles writes defining "five conceptual components" which constitute true Torah giving ("Torah Tapestries" on Sefer Shemos, pages
106-122, Parshat Terumah), however, this Parshat HaShevua will focus on only one of these components, after all, "From every man whose
heart volunteers him" -- that's ratzon (desire): true giving seems to come from one's heart.
Rebbetzin Smiles "Torah Tapestries" on Sefer Shemos, pages 108-109) cites Rabbi Yitzchak Kreiser (Sefer Ish LeRei'eihu, page 370) who
notes that the Chasam Sofer writes:
Rebbetzin Smiles then questions:
This verse ["From every man whose heart volunteers him you shall take My donation"] teaches us that our heart's desire to give is the only thing
which is ours to offer! Not just gold and silver, but the entire physical world belongs to Hashem. Offering Hashem material things is merely
giving what is already His. True giving, therefore, is dedicating our heart's desire and our will to Hashem..
This author makes no claims of being a Rav or a Talmud Chacham, but it does seem that a good name is a product of one’s intentions, our
heart's desire and fulfillment thereof (i.e. Terumot, honest business dealings, honesty and chessed — one toward his brother, etc.), which may
not be definitively ascertained by ones’ appearance and clothing, speech or outward actions. Thus, in keeping with Hashem's message in our
Parshat Terumah and the insights of R' Hirsch, Shem Mishmuel and Rebbetzin Smiles, here is a point which seems crucial both for communal
spiritual and chessed leadership, as well as for the Am at large to recognize and heed.
R' Hirsch renders translation followed by commentary in the new Hirsch Chumash on Sefer Sh'mos, Perek 22, posukim 21-23 (pages 470-473,
Parshat Mishpatim) which seems symbolic of this spirit of sanctification of our national and private lives as well as dedication to fulfillment of His
Posuk 22: "Woe [to you] if you, too, should let them feel their dependent state! For if they must cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry."
Posuk 23: "And then My anger will grow hot and I will let you die by the sword, and then your wives will become widows and your children
Stand up for them and uphold their rights...
Woe unto you, if their only resort is to cry out to Me; for I will assuredly hear their cry; I will make the state and society pay dearly for it, if their
weakest members must appeal to Me to find justice.
Does Hashem's Will, as expressed in the above 3 posukim, not also extend to a moral obligation of one's ratzon (desire) for the support,
wellbeing and maintenance of health of divorced single parents and their children? Wouldn't seem to follow that numerous contemporary so-
called national and local “leaders” of many stripes, sectors and levels of prestigious visability, as well as members of the legal profession (all of
whom seem sooo assured of their own self-rectitude while charging clients on a "contingency" basis -- read as "retainer"), as well as all of us —
need to keep in mind the spiritual parallels and implications inherent in our intentions and how those intentions, ratzonot (desires) impact on
the development of a good and pure name?
And finally, this point, repeated to all of us yet again, from Torah Gems citing of Ibn Ezra on Parsha Yithro, regarding the appointment of a
judicial system, with consideration for and intellectualization of attaining the “crown of a good name”:
Parsha Yithro, page 131)