Terumah 2019


Parshat Terumah
By: Rabbi Moshe Goodman, Kollel Ohr Shlomo, Hebron


לשכנו תדרשו
Inviting the Holy Presence in Our Holy Land
All Those that Lift their Hearts to Donate

This week’s Parsha Trumah, whose name means ‘donation’, heightens our awareness towards donation for the Temple. Today, in the absence of the Temple, we can still come ever closer to this goal by tying ourselves to the holy locations where the Holy Presence of the Temple rests (albeit in a more limited level); such as our synagogues and yeshivot, our Holy Land, and our holy cities, Hebron and Jerusalem. Ultimately, this connection to the locations where the Holy Presence rests is a pre-requisite to the building of the Temple itself, as it says, ‘and you shall seek His Holy Presence and come there – [to the Temple Mount].’ The verb root for “donation”-“teruma” is resh, vav, mem, which means ‘to raise’, re-appears in yet other contexts that also portray a type of raising of material for a holy purpose. Thus, we find the term ‘teruma’ not only in contexts such as the well-known ‘grand teruma’, usually given just before separating ‘maaser’, but also in the context of ‘bikurim’-the first fruits, ‘terumat maaser’ – a ‘teruma’ separated from the ‘maaser’-tithe, and also ‘halla’ separated from dough, which all are called ‘teruma’ given to the Kohen. Also, the ‘half-shekel’ is also coined as a ‘teruma unto HaShem’. We can explain this terminology as signifying the ‘uplifted’ status of such ‘gifts’ unto the holy, as teruma given to the Kohen is also called ‘holy’ on variable occasions (even though it is different than something truly holy that is fully sanctified – ‘hekdesh’). In a similar sense, we find that another verb root used for donation in this parsha, n.d.v, is used in other contexts to refer to uplifted people, i.e princes, as it says “the princes – “nedivim” – gathered” (Ps. 47, 10). These sources point to the fact that one who donates towards the holy not only lifts the mundane to become holy, but also lifts himself to a princely level, lifting his heart and spirit in the process, as it says in this parsha “all those who “donate”/”lift their heart.”

When we examine the opening verse of this parsha, we notice that there are eleven types of materials that are brought for the Mishkan’s structure itself [this is to exclude materials brought for functions or clothing of the Kohanim such as oil or precious stones]:

1. Gold 2. Silver 3. Copper 4. Techelet dye 5. Purple dye 6. Scarlet dye 7. Flax 8. Goat skin 9. Ram skin dyed red 10. Tachash (a special animal debated on) skin 11. Shita wood. The Arizal explains that the number eleven is a prominent number used in the Mishkan, as can be seen in the eleven goat skins used in the covering of the Mishkan and in the eleven ingredients of the Ketoret incense used in the Mishkan. The Arizal explains that the number eleven is indicative of a process of “raising sparks” from matters that are mundane/potentially evil and bringing them to holiness, a matter that fits perfectly with the raising/elevation process we just discussed in the verb roots of “teruma” and “nedivim.”

In Hebron, all these ideas come together as Hebron is both the place where souls “rise” to Heaven and also the cradle of King David’s royalty as “prince” over Israel. Indeed, it is in Hebron where the first time “prince” – “nasi” – is used in the Torah in context of Avraham’s purchase of Maarat Hamachpela, who by so doing exemplified the “raising” of money towards a holy purpose


Real Stories from the Holy Land #301

Although Jewish settlement in Hebron was met with opposition by the Israeli Governement, nevertheless on the third of Elul 5728 (1968) [yartzeit of Rabbi A.I Kook] the Israeli Government agreed to open a yeshiva alone in Hebron which became known as Yeshivat Nir. Later, on the 17th of Iyar that year 60 representatives of synagogues in Israel came to Hebron and gave this yeshiva 37,000 Liras – funds that were collected during one week alone from synagogues across the country.

Source: Sefer Hebron pp. 486-493

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