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Published by: outdash2 on Feb 01, 2011
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The Gift That Keeps On Giving
Rabbi Maury Grebenau 
Our Parsha opens with a reversed language of 
vayikchu li terumah
; literally,
you shalltake for me a donation
. The appropriate verb for giving a gift towards the building of theMishkan (Tabernacle) would be
), not
).The seemingly misplacedverb of 
begins to hint at the fact that we get more than we give when we contribute to thisspecial building fund. To understand why this is the case we need to look more deeply at thenature of the Mishkan and its permanent counterpart, the Temple (Beis HaMikdash).The Mishna (Pirkei Avos 5:5) list a number of daily miracles which occurred in the BeisHaMikdash. Many of them had to do with the fact that there was no spoilage or physical decayinside the confines of the Temple. While these miracles were certainly helpful for the upkeep of the Temple and the daily sacrifices which were performed, there would seem to be a deepersignificance.A place which is not affected by rot and decay is reminiscent of a more spiritual, eternalworld. Certainly in a spiritual world there can be no decay; decay is a product of our physicalexistence. Even this world experienced such an era of the eternal. The Torah tells us that beforethe original sin we were to live forever; it was only the eating of the fruit which brought aboutthe curse of death (Bereishis 3:19 and Seforno there). The whole idea of death and decay ispurely physical; the spiritual is eternal and is never subject to any breakdown. At that point intime we were cursed with a more physical existence. However, at this point, the Jews are told torecreate a special space in which we could experience this pristine environment. The Mishkan,and subsequently the Temple, was a place where the laws of physics and nature ceased tofunction. It was a place of intense spirituality, where Hashem
s presence was most clearlyrecognized. Here Hashem would relate to the Jewish people on a level above nature and thenormal boundaries of physics (see Ruach Chaim on the Mishna above).The concept of creating such a space in this physical world is a powerful lesson. In thisphysical world, our goal is not simply to get by until our souls pass on to the spiritual world. Weaim to bring Hashem down into this world, despite its limitations. This is the function whichHashem Himself outlines for the Mishkan:
and I will dwell amongst you
When we join in this process and give of ourselves in order to bring more Godlinessinto the world, there is certainly a sacrifice. Some Jews gave of their wealth, others of their timeand abilities. However, it is clear that we are the beneficiaries of far more than we lose. When wemake it a priority to bring Hashem into this world and our individual lives, we benefit far morethan we sacrifice. This is the meaning of 
a donation to Hashem.The Midrash (Shemos Rabbah 33:1) takes this idea a step further in a pithy comment onthe same opening words of our parsha. The Midrash explains that the first two words can be readby themselves,
vayikchu li
, meaning
take Me
. The Midrash comments that the Torah is the

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