Terumah (Exodus 25:1-27-19) Haftarah (I Kings 5:26-6:13)
Moses instructs the Israelites to bring a terumah (donation) for the building of the sanctuary. Concerning the Tabernacle, G-d says to Moses, “And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them”(Ex.25:8). Instructions for the construction of the Tabernacle are enumerated, including the ark and the poles for carrying it, made of acacia wood overlaid with gold, two cherubim facing each other, and so forth. Moses is instructed to build a menorah (lampstand) to hold seven lamps.
Terumah… The Torah portion states: “Speak to the children of Israel, that they may make me an offering” (Exodus 25:2). Here we see the importance of lending a helping hand in order that the construction of the Tabernacle can take place. Terumah donates ‘something set apart’ as a free will gift. There are three types of Terumah mentioned in the Torah: the capitation charge of a half-shekel from which the sockets of the Tabernacle were made, a similar charge for the purchase of the communal offerings and the offering specified in this Torah portion. When the Torah portion continues, ‘whose heart makes one willing’ notes that no compulsory levy was made, but volunteer gifts were requested.
What is interesting is that the people gave so much that they were asked to stop donating. The Tabernacle was complete with all supplies needed. However, the Israelites were wandering throughout the land. When the First Temple was built more supplies were needed, and upkeep of the Tabernacle. Today, Jews have many holidays when they may do a mitzvah of donating money or volunteering to help the synagogues continue to be a source of a sanctuary for all.
IT’S ADAR… BE HAPPY! PURIM IS COMING! The Megillat Esther will be read. Why did Hadassah/Queen Esther give the Jews of the Persian Empire two portions of food and 2 suzzim (pennies). The money, even this small amount, enabled those that were poor to give tzedakah to the synagogues. Today, the Shalach Manot (baskets or packages of gifts) are made with some hamentashen, fruit and nuts, and other goodies. The Jewish people make a surprise delivery of these Shalach Manot! To bring a person happiness is one of the mitzvot of Purim.
The Jews of Italy began the tradition of dressing in costumes. Why did the rabbis of the 16th century allow this?
The answers will be on Purim.
Rabbi Helene Ainbinder