Give and Take

Categories: Parsha, Terumah

Art by Sefira Lightstone

A WEEKLY TORAH THOUGHT FROM RABBI MORDY

This week’s Parsha Terumah contains a lesson truly crucial to us as an organization. The Parsha begins, “v’yikchu li Terumah,” which literally translates to mean, “And they shall take to Me (G-d) contributions.” I translate literally because this word is confusing. Take? Isn’t “give” the more accurate term? There must be so something deeper here as we refer to the necessary donations by all the Jewish people to the Tabernacle. But what is that?
So often at The Friendship Circle we are asked about our members. “So how many volunteers and how many ‘clients’ are there?” We politely respond telling these well-meaning folks that at The Friendship Circle, we are all friends. We do not distinguish between those with and without disabilities because that would naturally put our members in a state of “giver” or “receiver.” And who are we to determine who is giving and who is receiving? If a boy is naturally quiet but has gained a sense of self-confidence and leadership ability through his time here, but goes to Allderdice, should he be a giver? And another girl who teaches spunk and optimism, and doesn’t interact with anyone without a compliment, but goes to the Day School at the Childrens Institute, is she a receiver? Neither of these would be the case. Why? Because we all give to and gain from the relationships that we forge here. And no one should be the arbiter of who is giving and who is receiving. One who is seemingly giving, can, in time, find himself or herself as true receivers.
So when the Torah refers to these contributions, “take” is the word of choice. Yes, you may think that you’re taking your hard earned money and giving it away for a worthy cause, but just bear in mind, you are gaining from this act at the same time. Don’t view this as an act of charity, see it as your responsibility and something that will make you a better person. After all, as with the contributions in this Parsha, each individual donor was transformed into someone who actually helped build G-d’s house – which is about as good as it gets. Good Shabbos!

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