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Make your presents into G-d's presence

Thursday, 11 February, 2016 - 11:44 am

Benefactor, sponsor, supporter, patron and sustainer are all words used to describe someone who is giving money to support an organization. However, these terms are not always accurate. I prefer the word partner, as then it is not something separate from the donor yet an investment in something he or she is part of. 

We see this ideal in the name of this week's Torah portion, Terumah. The word Terumah - תרומה comes from the word Torem -תורם which means separate (so you can contribute) as well as Tarim - תרים which means lift up. 

The name of the Torah portion includes its general message.  This week, we read about the building of the Mishkan, the tabernacle, as a place where G-d will feel at home. In order to build a home for G-d, the Jewish people needed not only to contribute resources, yet also to be an active part of the building by weaving, melting, etc. to elevate the materials and make them holy.

The materials that were used in the creation of that physical home for G-d were uplifted. However, there are many items and parts of the world that have not been uplifted. One of the messages of the parsha to us is: not only should we contribute to making the world holy, by giving stuff towards the causes we support, we need to also be active participants in uplifting the world to be a home for G-d.

In short: "Make your presents into G-d's presence".

Have a good Shabbos, 

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

P.S. This week I was forwarded a video (you can watch it here) of a gentleman who was a supporter of Chabad in Princeton. Once, when he was passing by the Lubavitcher Rebbe and told the Rebbe that he is honored and proud to be a supporter, the Rebbe responded: As you know, I am not happy with the term “supporting Lubavitch”. It would be much better if you support yourself by being part of Lubavitch. "Supporting" is generally used for something "else" and you are supporting it, I want you to be part of it. 

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