Posted on February 20, 2024 (5784) By Rabbi Label Lam | Series: | Level:

Take for (Li) Me…: For (Li) Me, for (L’Shmi)

My name (sake). (Rashi)

They should make for Me a Sanctuary and I will dwell among them. (Shemos 25:8)

They should make for Me a sanctuary: They should make for My Name a house of holiness! (Rashi)

It’s not hard to detect a pattern here. The construction of the Mishkan requires that all contributions are made for the sake of HASHEM’s Name and not for some other ulterior motive. That’s not only a tall order but it’s a unique condition. The Talmud tells us that a person should always be busy with Torah and Mitzvos for ulterior motives because from those ulterior motives he will eventually come to do it for HASHEM’s Name. That’s how we train little children and adults too to keep their bodies in motion until their hearts and minds catch up. Why, here is the expectation dramatically different?

The Magdanos Eliezer, Eliezer Auerbach ztl. has a unique approach to the Possuk, from the Navi Chagai (2:8), “Li HaKessef and Li HaZahav N’um HASHEM…” – (Li) Mine is the silver and (Li) Mine is the gold, so says HASHEM…” We would normally understand this to mean that HASHEM is being declared as the supernal banker and owner and keeper and distributor of all wealth in the world. This is absolutely true. In the grand scheme of things, everything ultimately belongs to HASHEM and we are only temporary guardians over whatever we seem to have discretion over. Very nice!

However, the Magdanos Eliezer, employing the Torah and Rashi as a self-referential dictionary, wakes up a new meaning in the word “Li” in this verse. “Li” as Rashi explains by the Mishkan, “for My Name”, the point of money, the ideal use of silver and gold, and wealth is for HASHEM, for Heavenly causes. That is the purpose of wealth, what it is ultimately good for.
A young man, an up and coming, aspiring son of a very wealthy Wall Street investor, once asked me, “What is the value of money? What is it good for?” I appreciated the utter honesty of his question. It was definitely a teachable moment. I gave him a very straight and strong answer. I told him, please excuse me, “Money is like manure! Manure is often used as fertilizer. If you spread it out on a field of Mitzvos it can catalyze growth and be very productive. However, if one holds on to it, just for self-aggrandizement, then it stinks.”

These are not my ideas. This is not just a door prize for those who never “made it”. It is the absolute truth. Ramchal writes in the beginning of the Meslias Yesharim, “When you look further into the matter, you will see that true perfection lies only in clinging to G-d. This is what King David said “But as for me, closeness to G-d is my good” (Tehillim 73:28) and, “one thing I asked from G-d; that I seek, that I may dwell in G-d’s house all the days of my life, to gaze on the pleasantness of G-d…” (Tehillim. 27:4). For only this is the good, while anything besides this that people consider good is really emptiness and mistaken worthlessness.”

One of my Rebbeim told us that a very wealthy and well-known businessman came to Reb Chaim Kanievsky ztl. Reb Chaim heard his last name and asked him if he is related to this person or that one who wrote a Sefer or commentary on the Talmud. Then, noticing Reb Chaim’s austere living conditions, the business took out his checkbook and asked Reb Chaim if he needed anything. Reb Chaim responded to him undramatically, “No” and that was the conclusion of the meeting. He didn’t need anything that money could buy. Now, who was the truly wealthy person in this story?!

HASHEM’s place is really a holy invitation for Him to dwell in our midst. “Look not upon his appearance, or the height of his stature, for I have rejected him, for it is not as man sees, to the eyes, while HASHEM sees into the heart.” “HASHEM Yireh L’Levav” – (Shmuel A 16:7) The Mishkan is not built with silver and gold alone. They are HASHEM’s. Rather, it is built with heart!