Parshat Terumah begins with G-d’s instruction to “take a donation” for the luchot. This sounds strange. Shouldn’t the Torah have instructed us to give a donation?
The explanation could be that giving for the right reason and to a proper recipient is also a form of taking. As a wise person once said, “All that I really own is what I’ve given away.” In truth, one of life’s greatest pleasures is to give. G-d’s most essential quality is being a giver.
This parsha also tells us the key to proper giving is giving with a full heart. For example, when your parent asks of you to get them a glass of water, you should always be eager to do it. If you complete the task without willingness, then the mitzvah will not be fulfilled to its full effect.
The Midrash says that Betzalel, the architect of the luchot, was able to discern the intentions of those who donated. In this way, he determined how each donation would be used to contribute to the luchot. For instance, when someone gave with pure intentions, their donation was used for the Holy Ark. Whereas someone who gave with a grudge would have his donation used for pegs to hold up the luchot walls.
Even today, when we give charity, we don’t necessarily know how the money will be used. But if we give with the right intentions, we can be sure it will be used in the best possible way.