In this very difficult time in the world, which tends to make us look inwards and worry about ourselves, along comes this week’s Torah portion with plans to build the Tabernacle in the desert. (It is the model for the Temple in Jerusalem, and later the model for our present day Synagogues).

G-d, and the Torah, says: “Take a donation”.

Shouldn’t that say “give a donation”?

For the rabbis, every word in our Torah is carefully chosen, every word rich with meaning. They wanted to figure out why the choice of words is “take” a donation rather than “give” one.

The English word charity tells us we are choosing to mete out part of what we own. The Hebrew word Tzedakah is based on the word Tzedek, meaning ‘this is the just way’, that sharing is the way things should be.

We are taught by the Hebrew language that sharing is not an act of good-heartedness, it is actually based on how the world is supposed to be.

Our Parsha’s language takes this teaching one notch higher, and reminds us that we are wired in such a way that when we give, we’re actually receiving; we get warm feelings, we get strength, we get a sense that we are part of a world. We are strengthened in the core of our very humanity.

You think you are “giving” something, when you donate. The Torah says; No, you are “getting” something! You are being warmed as a human being!

And so the Torah’s choice of words for donating to your Tabernacle, your Temple, your Synagogue, your community is “take”.

TAKE a donation.
You are RECEIVING something when you share.

Blessings and Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Mark Biller