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Beit Midrash Torah Portion and Tanach Terumah

The Love We Make = the Love We Take

The Moody Blues said it well: “And when you stop & think about it, you won’t believe it’s true: That all the love you’ve been giving, has all been meant for you". But they weren’t the first to say it...
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The Moody Blues said it well: "And when you stop & think about it, you won’t believe it’s true: That all the love you’ve been giving, has all been meant for you."

But they weren’t the first to say it: Rav Dessler, for example, says it, too, when he explains why the root of Love Ahava is "hav," which means "to give:" If you want someone to love you, give to him; he will then give to you in return, & that will create an ongoing loving relationship.

But the first to expound this principle, of course, is Hashem, in this week’s Sedra, when He tells Moshe: "Speak to Bnei Yisrael that they may take for Me a gift." Take rather than Give, because when you give from your heart, you receive much, much more in return.

That is why the Hebrew word Natan (nun, tav, nun) is the same backwards & forwards; giving creates an endless cycle of more giving, until giving & taking fuse into one.

This, of course, is the essence of EVERY Mitzva: You think you are giving to another - be it to a person or Hashem - but the reality is that you yourself are the real recipient. Shabbat, tefila, tzedaka, fasting on Yom Kippur; the beneficiary of every Mitzva policy is YOU.

The story is told of Rav Eliezer Gordon, founder of Telz, who studied for many years through the generous support of his father-in-law. Many times he wanted to take a Rabbinic position, but his father-in-law convinced him to stay on a bit longer & continue his learning. Finally, Rav Gordon felt he must utilize his learning & share it by serving a community (the Eisheshok khila).

"I cannot allow you to continue to support me," Rav Gordon told his benefactor, who whispered under his breath, "I’m not sure who is actually supporting who!" On the very day Rav Gordon finally moved to his new position, his father-in-law had a heart attack & died. It was then clear who was giving, & who was receiving.

Perhaps now we understand why, in our Parsha, Am Yisrael is first commanded to contribute to the Mishkan, & only then commanded to build the Mishkan! It should have been the opposite; Hashem should have said: "Here is My plan for a Mishkan; now here is how you will get the materials, by donating." And this is why Hashem says to Moshe, "Tell the people to make Me a Mikdash, and I will dwell in them."

The point is clear: You don’t merit having a Mishkan, a repository of G-d’s holiness, unless you first are giving people! Learn to selflessly give of yourself, your time, your money & your energy - & you will become the architect of your own personal Mishkan. The Almighty will then be absolutely delighted to dwell both within it - and within you!
Rabbi Stewart Weiss
Was ordained at the Hebrew Theological College in Skokie, Illinois, and led congregations in Chicago and Dallas prior to making Aliyah in 1992. He directs the Jewish Outreach Center in Ra'anana, helping to facilitate the spiritual absorption of new olim.
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