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Parshat Terumah (5768)

This week's Torah portion describes in detail how the Moses took donations ('Truma') from the Jews to build a 'Mikdash' (Tabernacle): a Holy Place where they could make sacrifices to and get instruction and inspiration directly from The Creator of the Universe.

But at first glance this is not so clear. If G-d wanted a Holy building then why didn't it fall from Heaven? (Indeed, according to most opinions the Third and final Temple WILL 'appear' from heaven!) What is the purpose of the Jews building it? And why call an entire Torah portion 'Truma' after these gifts.

And why does it say that Moses should TAKE the donations. (28:2,3) Shouldn't it say that the Jews should give?

To understand this here is a story: Bait Moshiach #629 pg. 3 bamachaneh)

The year was 1994 and the situation was severe; Rabbi Schneur Zalman Liberow desperately needed money to cover the $3,500 check he wrote and he had no cash to cover it.

Perhaps it was a foolish thing to do but he did it. The Lubavitcher Rebbe said time and time again that ours is the generation of Moshiach and we should advertise it and teach about it whenever possible and he was an emissary (Shliach) of the Rebbe.

So he and several other Chabad representatives in New York took out a full page ad in a well known New York newspaper and advertised a handwritten letter of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, translated into English, stating that the Previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak, was the Moshiach of our generation.

The response was massive and positive. People wanted to know about Moshiach, many were surprised to hear it was even a Jewish idea and it aroused a lot of interest.

Maybe too much.

Rabbi Liberow got excited. The ad worked! He decided to throw caution to the winds, ignore all his debts, daily expenses and checks he had already written and put the ad in another paper, one that circulated in the area of his Chabad House in Flatbush … at his own expense.

He went to the editor, presented the ad together with the postdated check he wrote for $3,500 …. and prayed for a miracle.

And his prayers were answered.

First of all, when the editor of the paper suspected that there was no cover for the check (which in fact there wasn't) and decided to check Rabbi Liberow's bank account before printing the ad, he discovered that miraculously … there was!

Perhaps several people delayed in cashing earlier checks the Rabbi wrote…. but there it was: $3,500! Rarely was such an amount in the account for more than a day... but it was there!

But it was only a matter of time before that money would get withdrawn. So as soon as Rabbi Liberow saw the ad had been printed he began to make phone calls and visit people he knew to get up the cash.

But after several days of work he was disappointed to see that he had collected only $1,038. He was short almost $2,500.

Not only that but he couldn't ignore his expenses for just running his Chabad house which were at minimum another $2,000 a week.

So now he didn't have enough money for anything; not for the ad and not for the Chabad House.

Things looked bad.

He had one day left. If that check bounced he would be in hot soup… the editor of the paper was known as a hard cookie with a lot of influence and the last thing Rabbi Liberow needed was a bad name. He should have thought of it before! He had reason to worry… but he didn't.

[Perhaps he heard of the Chabad 'Shliach' that desperately needed a $30,000 donation to save a massive children's summer program he was running and his only hope was a millionaire he had never met before. He entered the millionaire's office, almost certain of failure, and the first thing that caught his eye was a small sign on the wall that read: "Don't tell G-d how big your troubles are. Tell your troubles how big G-d is." He did it and got the donation].

His only chance was Eliyahu Satbroosh a businessman who was a supporter of the Chabad House and who donated about a thousand dollars each month. But it was a long shot.

Mr. Satbroosh was a good natured fellow but he didn't like being asked for money. Rather he asked Rabbi Liberow to put a charity box that in his office and at the end of the month the Rabbi would come to collect the contents which usually were about $1,000.

But in fact this money was earmarked for the daily running of the Chabad House not for newspaper ads, and without it he would be in trouble. And not only that it was some two months since he last visited Mr. Satbroosh. And not only that but his $1,000 would hardly solve his problems…he needed at LEAST four times that amount.

But there was no time left. The Rabbi remembered the saying about how big G-d is and entered.

Mr. Satbroosh was sitting with a client but he was happy to see the Rabbi and introduced them. He then excused himself, took out the box and started emptying and counting the contents. The client, who also happened to be a Jew, figured out what was going on and, being in a good mood, suddenly announced.

"Chabad? Hey, you know what? I'll equal whatever is in the box."

The Rabbi thanked him but warned, "Are you sure? You know there could be over a thousand dollars here?"

"Maybe even two!" interjected Mr. Satbroosh as he finished taking the money out, "Remember, it's been almost two months since you last visited here. Here, see? It's more than two thousand! Here look, I counted $2,472 dollars."

"No problem," the client said as he took out his checkbook and began to write exactly that amount.

Rabbi Liberow took out his pocket computer and his eyes almost popped out of his head!

Mr. Satbroosh's $2,472 would go for the Chabad House just as always. And the client's $2,472 when added to the $1,038 he had collected for the ad was ….. $3,510. Exactly what he needed!

(The extra ten dollars was used when one check was returned on a technicality and, although the one who wrote it replaced it, the fine was ten dollars!)

If Rabbi Liberow hadn't delayed that month in collecting the money there would have been half as much in the box, the client would have written half as big a check and he would have been in trouble.

This answers our question.

The purpose of the Holy Temple was to show the world that the Creator is MUCH closer than we can imagine: He personally cares about and gets involved in the world, helps all His creations and answers their prayers. And He 'chose' the Jews to demonstrate this fact.

That is why He wanted them to build it themselves.

But the commandment came through Moses, and that is why he had to inspire the Jews to give. In fact, this was the job of Moses. Something like how the Rebbe inspired Rabbi Liberow to give and he in turn inspired others.

Indeed, the mystical book 'The Zohar' explains that there must be a Moses in every generation who inspires the Jews to build themselves into Holy Temples; and the donations they must give are their talents, potentials, love, care, devotion and self-sacrifice.

And Moshiach will be the ultimate 'Moses'. He will TAKE all these 'donations'; from ALL the generations and unify them into the final Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

This is the Temple which will 'descend' from heaven!

When all mankind will unite with the Creator and see that G-d is really one.

Exactly what we needed!!!

It's up to us to do all we can to bring ….

Moshiach NOW!!

Copyright © 1999-2017 Rabbi Tuvia Bolton. All rights reserved. No unauthorized reproduction or copying of this material shall occur without prior permission.

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