Parshas Terumah

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By Rabbi Shloimie Lindenbaum

תקחו את תרומתי (פרק כה פסוק ב)

Our Parsha begins with the command that בני ישראל bring the materials needed for the building of the משכן. Rashi tells us that there were thirteen materials contributed. R’ Gedaliah Schorr explains the significance of this number, why the משכן was constructed with exactly thirteen materials. He says that בני ישראל were asked to give their donations with a generosity of heart- donating as much as they can with the sole motivation of doing for Hashem and for the כלל. When everyone comes together with a spirit of giving to the greater cause, this immediately unites them in a tremendous אחדות and love for one another. We find by the giving of the Torah that before the שכינה could rest on הר סיני it was necessary for בני ישראל to come together with unity- ויחן שם ישראל נגד ההר. Only when בני ישראל is lovingly united with a common spiritual goal can they merit Hashem’s Divine Presence. When they began building the משכן, the vehicle for the presence of the שכינה on this world, they also needed to fulfill this prerequisite. Therefore, they were asked to give with a generous and loving spirit, as this would unite them and properly prepare the משכן for השראת השכינה. The גמטריא, numerical value, of אהבה, love, and of אחד, one, is thirteen. In donating specifically thirteen materials to the building of the משכן, they were recognizing the need for the loving unity in the spirit of their donations as well.

בטבעת הארון יהיו הבדים לא יסרו ממנו (פרק כה פסוק ט)

The ארון הקודש, the Holy Ark, was what housed the תורה and is often used to represent the תורה. The ארון had poles through which it was meant to be carried and supported, and the הלכה of these poles was that they were never allowed to be removed from their attachment to the ארון. R’ Elya Baruch Finkel sees in this a hint to the fact that those who “carry” and support תורה become part and parcel of the תורה and are never separated from it. Those who support תורה get rewarded as if they learned the תורה themselves, and לעתיד לבא they too will know תורה as if they had already learned it. He quotes a story about R’ Lazer Gordon from Telz, who got married and agreed that his father-in-law would support him to continue his תורה learning. After a while, his father-in-law’s assets decreased, and his mother-in-law was pushing her husband to stop providing support. He refused to stop, saying, “who knows if we are supporting him or if he is supporting us with his תורה”. Eventually, after R’ Lazer was offered a job, his father-in-law consented to his wife that they should discontinue support now that there was a simple alternative. On that same day that R’ Lazer left town, his father-in-law tragically passed away at a relatively young age. R’ Lazer’s mother-in-law lamented, “it’s my fault, now I see that I was unaware of who is truly supporting whom.” There is tremendous merit to those who support the learning and development of תורה.

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