Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Vayak'heil-Pekudei 2 - Terumah

When HaShem issued the original command to Moshe to collect supplies with which to build the mishkan (25:2), he stated "ויקחו לי תּרומה", they shall take for me Terumah, focusing on the fact that the donations will (35:5) be going for a holy purpose, while when Moshe reported the command to Bnei Yisroel , he phrased it as
"קחו מאתכם תרומה", take from yourselves Terumah, focusing on the fact that the donations will be coming from the Jews. This is a somewhat counterintuitive dichotomy. When one asks people for donations, one tries to emphasize the importance of the cause for which one is collecting and/or tries to emphasize how the donations being requested are easily affordable; additionally, one would expect HaShem to focus on the idea that the donations are important to Him because it is the Jews who are giving it from themselves, rather than due to any specific need of His.

Perhaps this latter point is what Moshe wanted to emphasize to Bnei Yisroel, namely, that the donations are not significant because HaShem needs the materials for his abode, but rather because of the fact that the Jews are giving from themselves. I would have said that the same applies by korbanos, in that HaShem does not need to "eat" our offerings, except that the formulation for korbanos is a third formulation (Vayikra 1:2): "'אדם כי יקריב מכם קרבן לה" - When one offers a korban from you to HaShem, emphasizing both the origin and the destination.

In the other direction, although Moshe had to express to Bnei Yisroel the idea that the primary benefit of the Mishkan was for them, as a means of interacting with God, perhaps HaShem wanted to make known on a deeper level, to Moshe at least, that the Mishkan satisfies a need of God, k'v'yachol. The same word is used with respect to the Beis HaMikdash (Yeshaya 66:1): "אי זה בית אשר תבנו לי".

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