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The Weekly Share – 4 Adar 1

The Weekly Share – 4 Adar 1

Food For the Soul

Giving or Getting ?

Our Parshah Terumah (Exodus 25:1-27:19) deals with the first fundraising campaign in history. Moses initiated it in order to build the Sanctuary in the wilderness as well as all to acquire all the materials needed for the special utensils required for the sacred services. This is, therefore, a good time to talk about the art of giving.

The holy Rabbi Israel of Ruzhin said that while some people claim that “If you give you are a fool and if you take you are clever,” Jewish tradition teaches us that those who give and think they are only giving are, in fact, the fools. But those who give and understand that they are also receiving at the same time are truly wise.”

The truth is that in giving, we actually receive more than we give. And not only a slice of heaven in far-away paradise, but even in the here and now. Certainly, in our relationships—whether family, business or social—our generosity is often reciprocated and we find the other party responding in kind. But it goes beyond giving in order to get back. The very fact that we have done good, that which is right and noble, gives us a sense of satisfaction. “The takers of the world may eat better. But the givers of the world sleep better.”

This explains the unusual expression in our G-d’s words to Moses in our Parshah: v’yikchu li terumah–“and they shall take for me a contribution.” Why take? Surely, give would be the more correct term. But because in giving we are also receiving, the word take is also appropriate. For the same reason we find that the Hebrew expression for “acts of loving kindness” (“gemilut chassadim”) is always in the plural form. Because every time someone performs a single act of kindness, at least two people are benefiting—the receiver and also the giver.

I have seen people over the years who were good people, giving people, who shared and cared for others. Then, after years of being givers, they stopped. Why? They became frustrated at the lack of appreciation for all their hard work. Our sages taught that if we express regret over the good that we have done, we might well forfeit all the merits we would have otherwise deserved.

So whenever you think you’re a big deal because you did something for a good cause, remember; you are receiving much more than you are giving. Let us all be givers and be blessed for it.

From an article by Rabbi Yossy Goldman

Shabbat Shalom

What to Bring to a Shabbat Dinner?

Although many are still avoiding get-togethers because of Covid, we all look forward to the day when the time-honored custom of having visitors for the Shabbat dinner will be widespread once more. What to bring if you are invited to a Shabbat dinner? Nechama Golding offers the following advice in “Though not necessary, a small hostess gift is appropriate. If the gift is a food item, such as wine or chocolate, make sure that it is kosher (and if it is wine, that you see the word mevushal on the label). Avoid giving a dairy dessert, even a kosher one, as most Shabbat meals feature chicken or meat, and we do not serve dairy in the same meal as chicken or meat. 

If you do choose to give a gift, bring it to your hosts’ home before Shabbat starts. This may seem strange, but is actually quite normal in observant circles, since Torah does not allow us to carry or conduct transactions—including the giving or receiving of gifts—on Shabbat. Please don’t bring your gift when you come for the meal, as your hosts will not be able to receive it then.”

Mind Over Matter

Act Golden

The construction of the ark teaches us that we can improve our feelings through our actions. It’s all right to have some “wooden” moments but outwardly act “golden.” 

Actions create internal change. Act the part, and you become it. So go ahead and smile, and watch yourself become happier. Give those coins to charity, and witness your mood become more giving and forgiving. Act calmly, and your anger will begin to dissipate.  Because in truth, you aren’t really acting. Deep down, your inner self is pure gold.

From an article by Chana Weisberg

Moshiach Thoughts

Cedar Wood

The building of the Sanctuary in the desert required cedar-wood. Where would they get cedar-wood in the desert? Rashi quotes the Midrash: Our patriarch Jacob prophetically foresaw that the Jewish people would need to build a sanctuary in the wilderness. Thus he brought cedars with him to Egypt and planted them there. He commanded his sons to take these with them when they leave Egypt. By planting cedars in Egypt, Jacob did not simply show foresight to provide an eventual need for the Jewish people. With his action he also encouraged his descendants of the later generations. It strengthened them with an ability to contend with the darkness of galut. It strengthened the hope and courage of Israel at all times. For even in the very thick of the galut we have in our midst the “cedars” that our forefather Jacob planted in every generation. 

Rabbi J. Immanuel Schochet

Have I Got A Story

What Making Lunches With My Wife Taught Me

Last night, just as soon as the last of the children got quiet…we went into the kitchen to hang out and have our first quiet conversation of the day. As we spoke, we prepared the children’s lunches for school the next day. Being the supermom that she is, my wife, Raizel, turned this they-should-all-get-a-peanut-butter-and-jelly-sandwich experience into a gourmet event, where each child got something in their lunch that they liked, and a sandwich that spoke to them.

After the lunch boxes were all neatly lined up and ready to go, we sat back, very proud of what we had done. No, we didn’t bring world peace, and we hadn’t found a cure to any major, or even minor, disease, but we did conclude another successful day in the impossible journey of raising children and making a home.

I am not sure exactly when it happened, the exact moment we went from playing house to actually being adults raising children. And G-d knows we get it wrong as often as we get it right, but we are giving it our best. From the bigger issues of character development and attempting to convey our values of Torah and being a mentsch, to the minor issues of helping with impossible math homework and science fair projects, we are doing our best at making a home for our children.

A home is more than a roof over your head and a place where you are protected from polar vortexes. It is a place where your essence is, where you can truly be yourself, where what you see about yourself is what you got—warts and all! That is why those little expressions of love (not just an apple in the lunch box, but a cut-up and peeled apple in the lunch box) mean so much. Because when you are building a house, your house, one where you are investing the sweat equity of your future, you pay attention to detail.

Someone recently asked me why the Torah portions of Terumah, Tetzaveh, Vayakhel and Pekudei go into such granular detail about all the items inside the Tabernacle: the structure, the walls, the beams, etc. I answered that when you are building your own home, you pay attention to every little detail—not just the color of the house, but even the color of the grout between the tiles. Certainly, this is so when we are building G-d’s home, where every aspect of it has a Divine purpose and significance! When we are building our homes, we are also building our own little tabernacles. That attention to detail becomes all that really matters. That little peppering of love, kindness, care and consideration creates the details that make our homes a temple for G-d.

So let’s learn a lesson from the building of the Tabernacle: not only that we should pay attention to details, but that we should infuse those details with love and passion.

My children may never know what went into making that perfect lunch, but I hope that they will one day look back and see that we made an effort to turn their home into a temple for G-d.

Rabbi Nechemia Schusterman

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