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Parshat Terumah Dvar Torah

In this week's Parsha, Terumah, Hashem instructs Bnei Yisrael to give donations to the Mishkan: "ויקחו לי תרומה" — "Let them take for Me an offering" (Exodus 25:2). 

One would think that Hashem would use the words "veyitnu" — "and they should give," considering that they are giving to the Mishkan. 

Why does the pasuk instead use "ויקחו" — "let them take," which implies receiving rather than giving?

We can compare this idea of giving and receiving to the mitzvah of tzedakah. When a person gives tzedakah, it isn’t just for the other person. They are also receiving a spiritual benefit themselves. 

The Torah actually tells us this by explaining that when a person gives charity, they receive a merit for the mitzvah, and also receive Maaser from God. In Devarim it says, "Aseir te’aseir" — "You shall surely tithe," which the Talmud expounds on and says, "Aseir bishevil shetitasheir" — "By giving ten percent to tzedakah, you will become rich."

In the context of the Mishkan, the word "ויקחו" — "let them take" — suggests that by contributing to the building of the Mishkan, Bnei Yisrael weren’t just giving materials, but were also receiving Brachot from Hashem. Their donations allowed them to strengthen their connection with Hashem, and in doing so, they strengthened their individual spirituality.

Acts of charity are almost never just one-sided transactions. Just as Bnei Yisrael were encouraged to "take" for Hashem by donating for the Mishkan, we too can approach acts of kindness and generosity as opportunities to both give and receive. 

In giving to others, we open ourselves up to the abundance of brachot from Hashem. Therefore, we should learn from Bnei Yisrael and strive to engage in the mitzvah of tzedakah with open hearts and minds, knowing that in giving, we also receive.

Shabbat Shalom!

By: Tova Bossewitch (10th)

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