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Giving and taking

Written by D Caller

In the opening verses of Parshat Terumah the Jewish people are asked to donate willfully to the Mishkan. Q. If the Jewish people are asked to GIVE a donation, why does the verse (25,2) say ‘TAKE for me a donation’ rather than ‘GIVE me a donation’? A1. Rav Moshe Feinstein notes that we need to understand that really all our possessions belong to HaShem, and that He provides us with what we need. Therefore, when we give a donation, really HaShem is just TAKING back what He gave us originally

. A2. The Chafetz Chaim says that a person’s net worth is defined by what one gives away, rather than what one retains. Consequently when one gives, one is taking for himself, since he gains through taking. This does not just apply to giving charity, but also extends to giving time for a friend, good deeds etc. Whereas money and merchandise can disappear (lost/stolen/credit crunch), Torah and mitzvot remain with you for Olam Habah, the world to come. In a similar vein the Midrash Tanchuma in Terumah explains the verse ‘Ki lekach tov natati lachem’ ‘I have given you a good portion’, as Torah is the greatest portion that can be given because it is always retained. A3. There is a concept among the Sages that HaShem behaves towards us, according to how we behave towards each other. The more generously we give to other people, no questions asked, the more generous HaShem will be towards us. Therefore the verse says ‘TAKE for me a donation’ rather than ‘GIVE a donation’, to teach that we will TAKE i.e. gain from HaShem,

since He will act generously towards us. shabbat shalom (Based on a Shiur by Rav Shimon Kaplin)

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