Parshat Terumah 5775: Pure Motivation and it’s Value in One’s Actions

Shalom Friends;

This week, our Parshat HaShevua Terumah is being sponsored anonymously Lilui Nishmas HaRav Yehuda Leib ben HaRav Moshe Shimon HaKohen and Miriam bat Reb Menachem Mendel and Reb Avraham Zev ben Reb Shlomo and Sima bat Reb Avraham. To our anonymous sponsor, many thanks for your sponsorship and your continued kindnesses.

You can celebrate a Simcha — a birth, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, a Chassuna or other Simcha event in your life, or commemorate a Yahrtzeit of a loved one, or for whatever other reason by sponsoring a Parshat HaShevua.

Please forward to your relatives and friends and encourage them to sponsor a Parshat HaShevua. And please be in contact with me with any questions, or for further details.

Best Regards,

Moshe Burt
skype: mark.burt3

Parshat Terumah 5775: Pure Motivation and it’s Value in One’s Actions

by Moshe Burt

Parshat Terumah opens (Sefer Sh’mos, Perek 25, posukim 1-2):

Hashem spoke to Moshe saying: Speak to the Children of Israel and they shall take to Me a portion, from every man whose heart will motivate him you shall take My portion.”

This author had a dear friend in Chutz L’Aretz who would constantly ask, “am I doing… for the right reason(s)?” This friend was not observant. While this author has not seen or spoken to this friend in some 28 years, the constant questioning of motivation remains embedded in my mind.

Rabbi Zelig Pliskin writes, in his sefer “Growth Through Torah” (Parsha Terumah, page 201):

Your motivation is a major factor in the ultimate value of what you do.

Rashi (on Sefer Sh’mos, Perek 25, posuk 2) comments that the donations given for the Miskan (tabernacle) should be given for the sake of the Almighty.

What is difference what a person’s intentions are when he does a good deed? Rabbi Yehuda Leib Chasman used to give this illustration. …A certain person delivers milk to people each morning. He wants to insure that every child in the community will be able to have wholesome milk for breakfast. He brings the milk to each person’s home early in the morning regardless of the weather. What would you say about such a person? You would surely consider him an outstanding example of the most elevated levels of kindness. But what if you then heard that he gets paid a few pennies a bottle? He is no longer such a great, righteous person but a plain milk delivery man(? author). When you do something with pure motivations, your action is elevated. Work on your thoughts to have positive motivations when you do positive acts.

The reason that this author questioned the statement about the milk delivery man re: “he is no longer such a great, righteous person” because it seems apparent that one can be still “a great, righteous person” even when he diligently delivers milk daily for those few pennies per bottle as that is his parnossa. One has plenty of opportunities to uplift and sanctify his parnossa, often via the seemingly small Eikev mitzvot, in ways often not apparent to the eyes of others.

This author’s former auto mechanic, an observant Jew and a Tzaddik back in Philadelphia, was one such example of a great, righteous person who seized opportunities to uplift and sanctify his parnossa. He always kept a few shop loaner cars available so that when people brought their vehicles in for major repairs, that they were able to borrow a loaner car, free of charge, for work so as to not be inconvenienced while the work on the vehicle was being completed. He also made his loaner cars available, again free of charge, to people when they came to Philadelphia from out of town. He was also a Shul president and active in communal affairs throughout his life.

There is a oft-repeated (on this blog)Torah Gems citing of the Ibn Ezra on Parsha Yithro regarding the appointment of a judicial system, and the application of that lesson to all of us:

“The Torah did not mention ‘G’d-fearing men’ because only Hashem knows what is in man’s heart.” (Torah Gems, Aharon Yaakov Greenberg, Parsha Yithro, page 131)

R’ Shimshon Rafael Hirsch, z’l in the new Hirsch Chumash (published by Feldheim in 2005 and translated to English by Daniel Haberman), discusses the symbolic significance of the Mishkan in his Sefer Sh’mos, pages 538-540:

The construction of the Tabernacle, which begins here in Sh’mos [in our parsha (author)], is followed by Torah Kohanim [in Parsha Tetzaveh (author)], the series of laws whose purpose is the sanctity of the Temple [Mishkan, Beit Hamikdash (author)] and the sanctification of life.

Hashem does not grace us with His Presence, protection, and blessings merely upon the scrupulous construction and upkeep of the sanctuary, but only upon the sanctification of our entire national and private lives and… dedication to the fulfillment of His Commandments.

The point here seems to be that our inner purity of intent, whether as individuals, as a government, as a nation must represent the sanctification of, and fulfillment of His Commandments

May we, the B’nai Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole — be totally restituted for all that was stolen from them at leftist-agendized, supreme court legalized gunpoint, that our dear brethren Jonathan Pollard and Sholom Rubashkin, as well as the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem. May we have the courage and strength to stand up and physically prevent the possibility of Chas V’Challila any future eviction of Jews from their homes and the handing of Jewish land over to anyone, let alone to enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. May we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nai Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Ki Karov Yom Hashem V’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bimhayrah b’yamainu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!

Good Shabbos! Chodesh Tov!

Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.