Photo of Rabbi Ettedgui

Parashat Terumah - 5775

My friends,

In this Parasha, for the first time, we see a most important and most wonderful quality in our people - the willingness to give of our assets, ourselves and our time to worthy causes. It is a quality that has been part of Jewish history throughout all time. Jews have distinguished themselves by their acts of philanthropy for all kinds of needs.

The portion of Terumah describes the great project of building a Tabernacle in the midst of the camp of the Children of Israel, which would serve as the Mikdash, a Sanctuary where G-d will dwell, and in this way also dwell in the hearts of the Israelites. All are welcome to contribute gifts of gold, silver, brass, wood, fabrics, spices, etc, as well as volunteering their skills in making the Tabernacle and the objects it will contain. Gifts were accepted from anyone whose heart moved him/her to contribute. There was to be no coercion in the solicitation.

To this day, our people can be proud of our response to calls for help. From the change saved in the small pushke, to the grand gifts from those with means, we have supported local and international needs, in all kinds of human needs and endeavors. This Parasha details the first such campaign. We know that the calls for help from each and every one of us will never cease, and we must always be prepared to help to the best of our ability.

Shabbat Shalom,

Avram