Posted on February 22, 2024 (5784) By Rabbi Yissocher Frand | Series: | Level:

This dvar Torah was adapted from the hashkafa portion of Rabbi Yissocher Frand’s Commuter Chavrusah Tapes on the weekly portion: #1283 I Want To Take Back The Keser Torah I Donated: Should the Shul Agree? Good Shabbos!

Last week’s parsha also contains a solicitation, but does not use the word tzav. Rather, Parshas Terumah begins with the pasuk “Speak to the Children of Israel and let them take for Me a portion, from every man whose heart motivates him you shall take My portion.” (Shemos 25:2) Everyone was asked to donate to the Mishkan building campaign. They donated all sorts of items, precious metals – gold, silver, and copper – as well as animal skins, wood, spices and the like. It was a very successful campaign, during which they collected everything they needed for the Mishkan.

The sefer Abir Yaakov asks why the Torah does not use the command (Tzav es Bnei Yisrael) in Parshas Teruma like it does here in Parshas Tetzaveh, rather than the more casual statement “Speak to the Children of Israel and let them take for Me an offering…” Anytime someone solicits money – gold, silver, or other valuable items, people don’t like to part with their money. They certainly don’t like to part with their precious metals. It is a request which may very well cause hesitation and resistance. Therefore, we would expect the Torah to use a forceful word such as “tzav” there. It seems incongruous that when asking for olive oil, the Torah uses a “command” (v’ata tetzaveh) and when asking for gold and silver, the Torah uses a mere request. Which is the easier ask?

Imagine a man who wants to relax on a Sunday morning but there is a meshullach (charity collector) at the door who gives his elaborate story of desperate need and asks for $1000. His story hits just the right way and the man writes a check for $1,000. The following Sunday morning, the same man is trying to enjoy his coffee when a meshullach comes to the door and says that he needs $100. Okay, the man gives him $100. Ten minutes later another meshullach comes to the door: “I desperately need $100.” A total of ten people come to the door, each asking for $100. Lo and behold, another Sunday went by, another $1,000 was distributed to charity.

Which is easier and which is harder? Is it harder to give $1,000 in one shot or is it harder to give $100 ten times over? The Rambam writes (in his Mishna Commentary on Maseches Avos) that it is harder to give $100 ten times than it is to give $1,000 in one shot. Not only is it harder, but it makes a bigger impact on the giver if he gives ten times a smaller amount than if he gives the same amount in one contribution.

If someone wants to become a baal tzedakah (generous person), the way to achieve that is to donate over and over and over again. A one-time splurge of generosity may be nice, but it does not change anything in a person’s neshama. Stinginess can only be overcome by repetitive action to counteract the negative character trait.

The Mishkan was a one-time building campaign. It was an unprecedented event that had never previously occurred in the history of Klal Yisrael. Everyone was excited about the prospect. They were happy to participate in this once in a lifetime event. Therefore, there was no need for a lashon ziruz (a language of diligence). “Speak to the Children of Israel and take for me…” was sufficient. However, the olive oil was a maintenance item. The appeal for shemen zayis for the Menorah needed to be made over and over again, every week, every month, every year. That is hard. That needs a lashon of tzav – “Command the Children of Israel…”

Transcribed by David Twersky; Jerusalem [email protected]

Edited by Dovid Hoffman; Baltimore, MD [email protected]

This week’s write-up is adapted from the hashkafa portion of Rabbi Yissochar Frand’s Commuter Chavrusah Series on the weekly Torah portion. A listing of the halachic portions for Parshas T’rumah is provided below:

  • # 044 Changing Nusach: Ashkenaz vs. Sephard
  • # 087 The Microphone on Shabbos
  • # 135 Living Above a Shul
  • # 182 Davening Towards Mizrach
  • # 228 Selling a Shul
  • # 272 Chazakah B’Mitzvos: Is This Maftir Yonah Mine?
  • # 318 Taking Out Two Sifrei Torah
  • # 362 The Mechitza-How High?
  • # 406 Shul Elections
  • # 450 Bais Hakeneses & Bais Hamikdash–Differences & Similarities
  • # 494 Bima In The Center Of The Shul
  • # 538 Preventing the Building of a Shul
  • # 582 Silk in Halacha
  • # 626 The Po’roches
  • # 714 The Bais Hamedrash Is Not a Chat Room
  • # 758 An Atara for a Talis?
  • # 802 Birthday Cakes on Shabbos
  • # 846 A Pasul Sefer Torah – Where Should It Be Kept?
  • # 890 Shul Windows: An Open or Closed Case?
  • # 934 Kohanim Face the Nation
  • # 977 Remodeling A Shul: Is There A Problem?
  • #1021 Should a Yahrzeit Make His Own Minyan in Shul to Get the Amud?
  • #1065 The Breakaway Minyan – Permitted or Not?
  • #1108 Being From The First Ten At Davening
  • #1151 Shul Shortcuts – Does Saying A Pasuk Really Help?
  • #1194 Your Father’s Nussach Or Your Grandfather’s Nussach
  • #1238 Pushka and Tzedaka Shailos
  • #1283 I Want To Take Back The Keser Torah I Donated: Should the Shul Agree?
  • #1370 They Want To Build A New Shul? N.I.M.B.Y. (Not In My Backyard)
  • #1414 Shul Issues: Shortcuts, Davening Towards Mizrach and More
  • #1458 Can A Man Daven In the Ezras Nashim Rather Than In the Main Shul?
  • #1502 Mizrach is One Direction; The Aron Kodesh Is in Another; Which Way Should You Face?
  • 1545 How Kodesh Is the Aron Kodesh?

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