A gitten erev Shabbos! This week’s parsha is Parshas Terumah. We receive here the measurements and directions for building the Mishkan and all the vessels used therein, including the altar, the Mizbeach HaNechoshes (The Copper Altar), as well as the original Menorah.
At the very beginning of the parsha, we receive the mitzvah to give Terumah. Terumah is a gift-offering to the Kohanim that in the Dor HaMidbar (Desert Generation) was used to construct and maintain the Mishkan. In later times, after the Beis HaMikdash was built, these gifts were used for Bedek HaBayis (Upkeep of the Temple). The word תרומה is in itself an interesting word, for it has naught to do with charity, rather the apparent root has to do with exaltation. Our rabbis teach us that this is meant to show us that giving charity to individuals and Torah organizations doesn’t remove from our finances, rather it brings more brocho (blessing) upon us which then leads to greater prosperity and the cycle continues henceforth.
One interesting aspect of the mitzva of Terumah is that it is to be given with a willing heart, according to what each individual desires to give, unlike Maaser, which is specifically a tenth of your produce or money. The Zohar HaKodosh on this parsha has a whole section through many dafim explaining the various permutations “Terumah” has, including the above that it leads to exaltation rather than loss. The greatest lesson there, especially applying to our generation, is that all our avodas Hashem must be with desire and love for God. The Zohar explains the difference between Kishuf (sorcery) and works of Kedusha (holiness) are as such:
Sorcery is easy and brings about quick results, as well as not requiring any real love or desire for much of anything to accomplish. To be an eved Hashem (servant of God) though, and receive the same benefits with lasting power, requires pushing through difficulty, having real love and desire to serve Hashem and cleave with Him, and maintaining the proper lifestyle according to the Torah.
What we should take from this is that through pushing through all difficulties, between the external troubles and internal, we can eventually cleave to Hashem completely and exalt our nature to that of complete Kedusha. Even though at the beginning everything is difficult, as Rebbe Nachman brings in one of his Torahs from Chazal, the troubles eventually turn sweet and bring forth the rewards of d’veikus and the sholom that can only come from serving Hashem with love and desire.