Torah Tidbits

2 September 2014 / 7 Elul 5774
Issue 1034
Shabbat Parshat T'rumah
February 14, 2013

Chizuk and Idud

CHIZUK and IDUD for Olim not yet Olim respectively

“Speak unto the children of Israel… from every man who has the impulse in his heart to offer a contribution shall you take my T’rumah” (Sh’mot 25:2).
Rabbi Gershon Katzman z"l, writes in his Hegyonot HaGershuni, that in general there are two possible motivational factors at work when one gives charity to the poor:
1) An other-directed desire to improve the situation of the needy.
2) A spiritual and elevated impulse of self-improvement.
When donating towards the Mishkan, however, there is no element of helping another. The T’rumah must flow from within the person’s heart, from the internal desire of self- elevation.
To borrow the terminology often mentioned by the Ibn Ezra, a mitzva can be directed to different components of the human personality: Machshava (thought), Dibur (speech), and Ma’aseh (action) - thus any given Mitzva can involve the mind and heart (motivation), speech or physical activity.
Applying this categorization to the monies earmarked for the building of the Mishkan, we are taught that this Mitzva must perforce involve two parallel faculties: The physical act of giving must be accompanied by a parallel motivational component - the contribution must come from deep within one’s heart (Yidvenu Libo).
This is certainly true for the Mitzva of Aliyah as well. Ideally, the physical act of making Aliyah must be accompanied by Yidvenu Libo - a deep-seated yearning to return home.
Having had the z’chut of meeting with hundreds of Olim over the years, I have observed the broad spectrum of motivational factors involved. At one extreme there is the Oleh motivated by fear, making Aliyah to avoid persecution in his home country. At the other end of the motivational spectrum are those who were prepared to pay the ultimate price in order to actualize their dream of Aliyah.
I once met with an Ethiopian Oleh who left Ethiopia with six children, walking to Israel via Sudan. The traumatic trek ended with the tragic death of five of his children. As I expressed my deepest sympathies to the father upon his loss, he unforgettably replied: “No, I am happy that at least one of my children merited to return to Zion.”
Similar tales of M’sirut Nefesh can be heard in our generation by Russian Olim the likes of Rabbi Yosef Mendelovitch, as well as by Olim from Iran and Syria.
Aliyah from Western countries may require one to forfeit jobs, status, or stature, however we are surely not called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice.
The message of T’rumah should be: cultivate within your heart the feelings of love for Eretz Yisrael and the desire to come on Aliyah, and then your Aliyah contribution - your “T’rumah” - can truly be characterized as “Nidvenu Libo”, as an act done because your heart has so moved you.

Rabbi Yerachmiel Roness, Ramat Shiloh, Beit Shemesh

TORAH THOUGHTS as contributed by Aloh Naaleh members for publication in the Orthodox Union’s ‘Torah Insights’, a weekly Torah publication on Parshat HaShavu’a

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