"The men came [with] the women; everyone whose heart motivated him
bracelets, nose-rings, body ornaments - all sorts of gold ornaments - every
man who raised up an offering of gold to G-d." (Shemos/Exodus 35:22)
Onkelos (1) comments that the jewelry was on the women, that they came to
contribute their valuables wearing them and they removed them on site to
donate them to the construction of the Mishkan (Tabernacle). Rabbi Moshe
Feinstein (2) explains that the women strove to demonstrate that they were
not donating the jewelry because they had no need for it. To the contrary,
the ornaments were very much appreciated, but with a full heart they gladly
parted with them because their participation in the construction of G-d's
earthly abode brought them greater joy.
Further, notes Rabbi Feinstein, the Torah's inclusion of these details
teaches us of G-d's great appreciation of their fulfillment. The women did
not give because they had no value for their possessions; rather, they gave
because they had more value for their relationship with the Divine and
to invest in it. G-d has no less appreciation for our fulfillment of
(Divine commands), whether acts of charity and kindness or Torah learning.
G-d understands well the lure to utilize our time for activities that are
financially beneficial - buying and selling and amassing more wealth - and
the depth of conviction needed to choose to fortify the relationship.
Why is the profundity of the giving so essential? As Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler
(3) taught, giving inspires love, not the reverse. Contrary to instinct, I
love that into which I invest myself, the child I raise, the animal I care
for, even the inanimate house I build. I love that in which I toiled with
own hands because I see it as a part of me, as it says in chapter 2 of
Tractate Derech Eretz Zuta, "If you desire to cling with love to your
friend, toil for his benefit."
How much more so when we toil for G-d.
Have a Good Shabbos!
(1) authoritative Aramaic interpretive translation by the Tannaic-era
proselytee Onkelos, c.90
(2) 1895-1986; Rosh Yeshiva/Dean of Mesivtha Tifereth Jerusalem in New York
City; the leading Halachic/Jewish legal decisor of his time and one of the
principal leaders of Torah Jewry through much of the last century
(3) 1891-1954; in Michtav Me'Eliyahu, his collected writings and
from England and, later, B'nai Brak, he was one of the outstanding
personalities and thinkers of the Mussar movement; see (Kol HaKollel -
Parshas Shoftim 5765).