Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Terumah

Divine Accounting

By Rabbi Shlomo Jarcaig

“Speak to the children of Israel that they should take for Me an offering, from every man whose heart will motivate him you shall take My offering.” (Shemos/Exodus 25:2) G-d instructs Moshe to appeal to the Jewish people for donations of all of the necessary materials for the construction of the Mishkan (Tabernacle). Generally, one’s donation to a particular cause is understood as “giving”. Why does G-d charge the nation that people should “TAKE for Me an offering”?

The Talmud (Brachos 35a) teaches if one benefits from pleasures in this world without first reciting the appropriate blessing, it is as if he benefited from that which belongs to G-d. Only after reciting the blessing is it considered his to enjoy. Chasam Sofer (1) explains that G-d creates and possesses everything; mankind is incapable of giving Him something He does not already have. Further, everything was put in this world for a purpose. When someone recites a blessing before he eats, he is using food as an opportunity to connect with G-d by appreciating one of the many, constant acts of Divine kindness. Because of this appreciation, G-d allows the beneficiary to truly take possession of the food as a gift. But when one eats without reciting the blessing, it is akin to stealing something that he does not own.

The same understanding applies to money and other material belongings. When one uses the resources with which G-d entrusted him with to fulfill mitzvos (Divine commands), G-d gives them those belongings as a gift. After he passes away, he cannot take with him to the next world the wealth he amassed during his lifetime, but he does take the merit for the charity, the free loans, the Torah study and other mitzvos he accomplished and facilitated with that wealth. Thus, the Jews were told to “take” an offering for G-d rather than to give one. G-d did not need to solicit donations to possess the materials necessary for the Mishkan’s construction; it was impossible to actually give G-d anything since he ultimately owns everything. But by giving to the Mishkan, the Jews were, in fact, acquiring the belongings for themselves.

Paradoxically, this Divine accounting dictates that selfish people who constantly take from others do not really, in the end, own anything at all; it is only those who selflessly give and give who truly possess wealth.

Have a Good Shabbos!

(1) Rabbi Moshe Sofer of Pressburg; 1762-1839; acknowledged leader of Hungarian Jewry of the time


Text Copyright © 2006 by Rabbi Shlomo Jarcaig and Torah.org.

Kol HaKollel is a publication of The Milwaukee Kollel Center for Jewish Studies · 5007 West Keefe Avenue · Milwaukee, Wisconsin · 414-447-7999


 






ARTICLES ON KI SEITZEI AND ELUL / ROSH HASHANAH:

View Complete List

The Fast of Gedalya
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5760

The Torah Introduces The Concept of "Tough Love"
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5772

“CSI: Who Are You – Jew, Who, Jew, Who?”
Jon Erlbaum - 5771

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The Epitome of G-d's Kindness
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Armed With Torah
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5764

Lessons on Prayer
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5760

> Rabbi Frand on Rosh HaShana
- 5769

Share a Face
Rabbi Label Lam - 5770

Rosh Hashanah
-

ArtScroll

Unusual Spelling
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5762

Looking to the Future
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5764

Putting The "Snap Crackle and Pop" Into One's Marriage Relationship
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5766

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Close Only Counts in Horse-Shoes
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5773

Judge Me Tender, Judge Me Sweet
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5760

Starting From Scratch
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5764

The Time Is Now
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5759



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information