The parshah states: “And you shall take trumah for Me” (Shemot 25:2). The verse uses the word lekach, which means take or acquire. King Solomon in Mishlei (4:2) uses the same word lekach to describe the Torah: “A good acquisition I have given to you, My Torah, do not abandon it.” Solomon felt that the best acquisition that a person can make is Torah. The Medrash Tanchuma tells the story of a wise scholar who was on a ship with a number of wealthy merchants. They asked him where his merchandise was. He told them that his wares were far better than theirs were. They searched all over the ship and could not find his goods, so they began to laugh at him. Shortly afterwards, pirates came and looted the ship, taking all of their valuable merchandise. The ship landed, and they were all very poor men with not even enough food to eat or clothing to wear. The wise man went to the house of study and began to learn and pray. The people saw that he was a wise man and they respected him greatly and provided for all of his needs. The former merchants, who were at the point of starvation, saw this and begged him to persuade the townspeople to help them. He said to them, “I told you that my merchandise was greater than yours. Yours is lost and mine is with me. Not only that, you do not profit every minute that you do business. Even when you do profit, you sometimes lose that profit. But the Torah is never lost, not in this world, and not in the next world.”
The Alshich asks the following question on the above verse: The trumot were gifts given to Hashem for the construction of the Mishkan and its holy vessels. The verse should therefore say “And you shall give trumah to Me.” Rav Shlomo Ganzfried in his Sefer Aperion (as quoted by Rav Beifus in Yalkut Lekach Tov) answers this question. The Torah is telling us that when you give to Hashem, you are really taking. When we give of our time or possessions to do a mitzvah, we receive a reward. The value of that reward is far greater than the cost of what we gave.
Moses begins to gather the materials for the Mishkin (tabernacle). This was the holy site where the Children of Israel would offer up their sacrifices to Hashem. The shechina (divine presence) rested upon this holy place. The Mishkan was a holy place. Its holiness was independent of time. The Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 151 tells us how to guard the sanctity of OUR holy places. Joking, idle conversation, and sarcasm are all prohibited there. We cannot enter them only for the purpose of gaining shelter from the outside weather, for a pleasure walk, or shortcut. We cannot discuss our business affairs there. Our clothing and shoes should be clean when we enter these holy places. We have to keep the synagogue and houses of study clean.
Prepared by Devorah Abenhaim